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St. Paul boy, 15, charged with shooting friend in stomach

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A 15-year-old St. Paul boy has been charged with two gun offenses after the weapon he and his 16-year-old friend were playing with discharged and wounded the friend, KSTP reports.

Police said the friend of the boy was accidentally shot in the stomach in the incident, which happened about 7 p.m. Monday in the 900 block of West Nebraska Avenue in St. Paul.

The Star Tribune reported that the weapon was a small caliber rifle.

Ramsey County officials said the 15-year-old was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality and possession of a pistol/assault weapon under the age of 18.

After the shooting, the 16-year-old was taken to St. Joseph's hospital by the 15-year-old's mother, before being transferred to Regions Hospital for surgery.

The victim's injuries appear to be non-life-threatening, St. Paul police said.

The incident comes about a year after a St. Paul man was sentenced to two years probation over an August 2012 incident where his 9-year-old son accidentally shot his 2-year-old brother in the head.

Lue Xiong, 43, received the sentence for negligent storage of a loaded firearm where a child can access it, which is a gross misdemeanor. The 2-year-old survived the shooting and required physical therapy for his recovery.

Xiong was sentenced just over a week after another 2-year-old was accidentally shot to death by his 4-year-old brother in Minneapolis. In that case, the toddler found the gun in his parent's bedroom.

An October report from the American Academy of Pediatrics examined the connection between household gun ownership and gunshot wounds occurring in the home.

"Increasing household gun ownership is significantly associated with increasing proportion of childhood gunshot wounds," the study found.

Each year about 7,500 U.S. children are hospitalized with gunshot wounds, which included more than 500 in-hospital deaths, the report concluded.

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