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Police: 3-year-old boy accidentally shot himself, now they're looking to arrest his dad

Police say the loaded gun was left within the boy's reach.

A 3-year-old boy accidentally shot himself with a gun that was left out, police say, and now they're looking for his father. 

The loaded gun was left within the boy's reach, and he accidentally pulled the trigger, St. Cloud police said in a news release Tuesday

He was brought to the hospital where he's in stable condition with non-life threatening injuries. 

Police say the incident happened around 11:17 a.m. Monday. And now they're looking to arrest the boy's father, saying he's a prohibited felon in possession of a gun, and that he negligently stored the gun.

He's been identified as 28-year-old William Deandre Dickerson. Police say he's possibly driving a 2002 dark-colored, four-door sedan with Minnesota plates 391XBZ.

He has not been charged with a crime at this point.

Anyone who knows where Dickerson is, or has any information about the incident, is asked to call the St. Cloud Police Department at 320-251-1200, or Tri-County Crime Stoppers at 320-255-1301. 

Accidental shootings

These types of shootings – where a kid gets their hands on a gun that isn't locked up properly and shoots themselves or someone else – happen frequently around the U.S.

According to Every Town, there have been at least 246 unintentional shootings by kids this year, with five happening in Minnesota (not including the St. Cloud incident).

And so far this year, more than 643 children under the age of 12 have died or were hurt in shootings this year, Gun Violence Archive says.

Gun safety tips

About one-third of accidental deaths could have been prevented by using a child-proof safety lock and a device that shows whether a gun is loaded, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Project ChildSafe makes free gun safety kits available across the U.S. – here's a list of where you can get them in Minnesota.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office has said that simply hiding a gun is not enough, and "negligently" storing a loaded firearm in a place where a child can find it can actually lead to a gross misdemeanor charge.

Some suggestions for storage: Keep guns unloaded when they're not being used, lock up ammunition in a second location, and use a trigger lock or cable lock, or keep the gun in a safe or lock box.

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