Aitkin teen accidentally shot as father handled gun dies


The 14-year-old boy from Aitkin who was shot in the neck when his father's gun went off accidentally has died.

Dawson Vanportfliet, who had been in Hennepin County Medical Center since the accident, died on Wednesday, according to a posting on a GoFundMe page set up to help his family.

"It is with great remorse that I must say, Rest in Peace Dawson," the posting says. "We will remember you and love you always. You have left this earth but will never be forgotten. Prayers are with your family."

His passing was confirmed to KSTP by Kenneth Toole, of the Boy Scouts of Central Minnesota Council, who said: "It's a terrible loss. He was a tremendous scout with great scout spirit."

The Aitkin County Sheriff's Office had earlier announced that first responders were called to the Vanportfliet house Sunday evening after the shooting.

According to investigators, the boy's father was said to have been handling his .40 caliber Sig Sauer pistol when it accidentally discharged.

Vanportfliet was hit in the neck and jaw area. First responders performed CPR before he was airlifted to the hospital in Minneapolis in a critical condition.

Friends of the family have set up a Facebook page in his memory, with the intention of holding a benefit for the family.

Friends have also set up a Booster page, selling t-shirts with "Dawson Strong" printed on them for $20, to help the family with the medical costs. Many of those buying shirts have left comments paying tribute to the late teenager.

According to the Aitkin Independent Age, crisis outreach services will be offered to those who knew him on Thursday and Friday at the Northern Pines Mental Health Center. Those affected can called (218) 927-7160 or the Crisis Line on (218) 828-4357.

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