The family of a 14-year-old boy from Princeton, Minn., who was fatally shot in his home Monday is pleading with parents everywhere to put their children through gun safety education classes.
“They need to know what weapons can do,” said Emma Nelson, who confirmed that her nephew Eric Nelson was the teen who died after a gun went off about 3:55 p.m. inside a residence on the 1300 block of 15th Avenue North.
“Even for parents who don’t own guns, please, put your kids through firearm safety or training. A lot of people do have guns and a kid can go to a friend’s [where there is one],” she said.
Emma Nelson said she could not comment on the shooting as authorities continue to investigate, but called it a “tragic event.”
Eric Nelson was an eighth-grader at Princeton Middle School. He loved music, playing video games and building things with Legos. He also enjoyed riding four-wheelers and his bike and hanging out with his friends after school, she said.
“He was a positive, loving boy,” his aunt said.
Police have released few details about the shooting other than to say that another 14-year-old boy was present at the residence at the time of the incident, said Princeton Police Chief Todd Frederick.
Frederick said there is no reason to believe there is a danger to the public.
Eric was well liked by his teachers and peers and appreciated for his sense of humor at Princeton Middle School where he was an 8th grader, said Superintendent Julia Espe. Last Friday he was presented with a Character Award for his enthusiasm. He was proud of the award and “wanted it laminated because he didn’t want anything to happen to it,” she said.
Counselors and clergy from area churches were at the school Tuesday providing support in what Espe called “a really tough day.” Students, she said, were making cards for his family.
The Mille Lacs County Sheriff and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are assisting with the investigation.
Princeton is about an hour northwest of the Twin Cities.
A Go Fund Me page has been started to help the family cover funeral expenses.