A game of “cops and robbers” between two brothers, who police said were playing with a loaded gun, ended in tragedy Sunday in Eagan.
Suhayb Jamal Hassan, 13, died after his 15-year-old brother shot him in the chest with their father’s 9-millimeter pistol. The two boys found the gun and were playing with it in their home in the 1700 block of Silver Bell Circle on Sunday morning, according to Eagan police.
“At some point, the firearm was loaded, then thought to be unloaded by one of the boys,” according to a police department news release.
As the brothers played, the 15-year-old pressed the trigger and unintentionally fired the weapon at Hassan, Detective Desiree Schroepfer said.
The brothers were at home with their 11-year-old sister when the incident occurred. She was not injured.
The 15-year-old brother called police, initially saying that his brother was running with a knife and fell and stabbed himself. When police arrived on the scene, the older brother told officers about the shooting.
“I believe at the time he was very scared because he knew he wasn’t supposed to be playing with the firearm. And he was concerned that he was going to get in trouble for that,” Schroepfer said.
First responders found Hassan, bleeding and unresponsive, around 11 a.m. and they were not able to save him.
“Anytime there is a loss of life of a young child, it’s tragic,” Schroepfer said. “And our hearts go out to the friends, family and community of this young individual.”
No one was arrested and police said they do not expect future arrests.
“Although this appears to be a horrible accident, upon completion of this investigation, the facts we gather will be presented to the Dakota County attorney’s office for review,” police said in the news release.
Schroepfer declined to discuss specifics about the storage of the handgun the teens were playing with, but she said, “It’s always important to make sure that you store firearms properly.”
In a 2012 Minneapolis case, a 4-year-old found his father’s loaded gun and shot and killed his 2-year-old brother.
A judge sentenced the father, who had stashed the gun between a pillow and a mattress, to 10 years of probation and extensive community service, primarily educating the Hmong community on gun safety.
Hassan was an eighth-grader at Black Hawk Middle School in Eagan. Officials said counselors are available to talk to students.
On Monday, no one answered the door at the family’s white house on a quiet cul-de-sac.
Staff writer Erin Adler contributed to this report.