PLYMOUTH, Minn. (KMSP) - Police say the seven-year-old boy who died of a gunshot wound to the head in Plymouth, Minnesota Wednesday afternoon accidentally shot himself with a loaded handgun he found in the home.
At 3:04 p.m., Plymouth police officers were dispatched to the 6000 block of Shenandoah Lane after they received a report of a victim bleeding from the head. When emergency personnel arrived they performed CPR, but the boy, identified as Keyaris Samuels, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Neighbors, classmates and teachers all gathered outside the home Thursday evening to honor the seven-year-old, laying flowers and signs while remembering the boy who loved to give hugs.
“I got to see him every day," said Sue Fousek, a teacher at the elementary school Samuels attended. "He had so many hugs and so many smiles he was so kind.”
According to Chief Mike Goldstein, Samuels found the loaded handgun in a box containing a new hoverboard. He was alone in the home at the time, but several other children were playing outside.
The other children heard the gunshot and found Samuels inside. They ran to a neighbor, who then called police.
“This entire incident should never have occurred," Goldstein said at a press conference Thursday.
Samuels' grandmother says the family bought a hoverboard secondhand the night before Keyaris shot himself. She claims the box was taped up and they have no idea how a loaded gun got packed inside.
Samuels was a first grader who attended Wayzata Public Schools. Friends of the family say he was one of four siblings and that his mother is a hardworking single mom.
"It is with great sadness that we share with you the news that a first grader who attended Wayzata Public Schools has died. We are all deeply saddened and impacted by this tragic news," Wayzata Public Schools Superintendent Chace Anderson said in a statement. "Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends as they process this devastating loss. We have extra support staff at the school to offer assistance when and where needed. It is our intent to keep the routines of the day as consistent as possible while at the same time accommodating each student’s unique needs. This is certainly a challenging time for all of us at Wayzata Public Schools and throughout the broader community. With challenging times like this, it is important for us to pull together in support of one another."
The boy's mother told police she was not aware there was a gun in the home. Investigators are still working to determine who was the owner of the gun, but Goldstein says they have determined the mother was not the owner.
"Amongst being sad, I'm also incredibly angry about the irresponsible behavior of this gun owner," Goldstein said. "We will do everything we can to hold this person or persons responsible for their actions."
Samuels' death remains under investigation.