MARTIN COUNTY, Minn. (FOX 9) - The shooting death of a 2-year-old child by a 4-year-old who was riding in the same car has led to several charges against a man who was with them and owned the gun.
Colton Dean Mammenga, 33, of Welcome, Minnesota, was charged Thursday with two counts of second-degree manslaughter, one count of child endangerment, and one count of negligent storage of a firearm for possessing the gun that enabled the shooting to occur.
According to court records, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office received reports of a shooting on Oct. 15 in which the victim was being taken to the hospital. Law enforcement caught up with the vehicle outside of Fairmont, and the driver pulled over. Mammenga exited the vehicle with a child in his arms.
Charges explained that Mammenga placed the child on the shoulder of the road and began administering CPR while police attempted to bandage the child's wound.
Mammenga claimed a 4-year-old child, who was still in the vehicle, had accidentally shot the 2-year-old, and he believed the gun was still in their possession. Mammenga told authorities the 4-year-old, "must have gotten the gun from the front," and "he wasn’t aware he had the gun," according to charges. When he heard the gun go off, he looked in the back seat and saw the 2-year-old had been shot.
When questioned by authorities, Mammenga said prior to the shooting and after the children were placed in the truck, he went into the house to get coffee – allegedly admitting to leaving the gun in the passenger-side door compartment, charges said. Mammenga said he and their mother went back into the house for "No more than 3-5 minutes," during which the child was able to grab the gun without them knowing, and he didn’t notice his gun was missing from the door compartment until after the shooting.
While speaking with authorities, the mother said she was unaware of the gun being present until she heard a loud "boom" as they were driving, then she saw Mammenga jump out of the vehicle and grab the 2-year-old to perform CPR.
Law enforcement later searched the vehicle and found a zip-lock baggie full of 9mm rounds sitting next to the 4-year-old’s car seat, and loose 9mm rounds in a booster seat in the back, charges explain.
Mammenga is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Nov. 7.