A 23-year-old Burnsville man has been indicted by a Dakota County grand jury on a charge of manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of a friend last December at a Burnsville apartment building, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said Monday.

Kyle Alan Dague made his first appearance Monday in connection with the shooting death of Justin James Schauer, who was killed Dec. 31, 2011. The Burnsville Police Department concluded that Dague shot his friend as the two were playing a game in which they ejected a bullet from the gun and tried to catch it.

Dague is charged with manslaughter in the second degree and reckless discharge of a firearm. Both are felonies.

Judge Karen Asphaug set bail at $150,000 without conditions or $25,000 with conditions, Backstrom said.

Schauer, 22, of Savage, died at the scene. Dague, who lived at the apartment, told investigators that the two were playing a game with a 9-millimeter gun in which the holder would pull back the slide of the gun and catch the ejected bullet in the air with his free hand.

Dague told police that when he was not looking, he heard the gun go off and that Schauer shot himself, Backstrom said in a news release.

The Dakota County medical examiner determined that Schauer died from a gunshot directly to his forehead. Testing by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension indicated the shot was fired from less than a foot away, Backstrom said.

Dague's DNA was found on the weapon, but Schauer's DNA was not, Backstrom said.

Burnsville police discovered that Dague bought the gun in April of 2011. Investigators talked to witnesses who observed Dague "on multiple occasions" playing the same game with the weapon, Backstrom said. Two witnesses also told police they saw Dague on previous occasions point the gun "directly toward others, pull the trigger and dry fire the weapon without a bullet."

Police also say they found a witness who said Dague told him he had pulled the trigger and shot Schauer.

Heron Marquez • 952-746-3281