A 15-year-old boy shot and wounded his 14-year-old girlfriend late Monday afternoon inside his Coon Rapids apartment, then ran outside and fatally shot himself, authorities said.

Police were called to Winchester Place Apartments at 11291 Robinson Drive NW., about 4 p.m., after the boy's mother, who was in the apartment at the time of the shooting, called 911. The boy had run out of the apartment.

Police found the girl had been shot in the chest and face but was alert enough to tell them that her boyfriend shot her and fled. She was taken to Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids and is expected to survive, said Anoka County Sheriff's Office spokesman Commander Paul Sommer.

Later, when investigators spoke with the girl in the hospital, she told them that her boyfriend was "playing" with the handgun when it went off accidentally, Sommer said.

Police found the boy with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head, lying on the ground amid a cluster of trees in an area between the apartment complex and nearby Northwest Passage Alternative High School. A handgun was nearby.

The boy's mother, who is cooperating with police, was not physically injured.

As news spread about the shooting, a group of five teenage boys gathered outside the yellow police tape strung around the apartment building where the boy lived. Distraught over the shooting, some sat on the wet grass, heads in hands, crying out in disbelief. They questioned why and how before shaking their heads. "No way," one cried out.

Ahmad Ali, a 16-year-old sophomore at Coon Rapids High School, said he had been friends with the 15-year-old boy, Alantae Arnold, since fourth grade. "We were like brothers," he said. "He was the class clown."

Ali said his friend had been back just one day at the high school after living for a time with his grandmother. He and his girlfriend had been in a relationship for "a long time, on and off. Everything was good," Ali said.

Remembering the good time he and Arnold had at a Timberwolves game last week, Ali said, "I shook his hand and said, 'See you later.' "

Ali wiped tears from his eyes. "I didn't get to say goodbye."

There are no additional suspects being sought and no specific concern to public safety with regard to this incident, said a statement from the Anoka County Sheriff's Office.

Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788