An east-central Minnesota man received a jail term but avoided prison after admitting that he sent his 3-year-old son upstairs alone to a bedroom where the boy found a loaded gun and fatally shot himself.

In lieu of prison, Roy D. Pauza-Moore, 27, of Hinckley, was sentenced in Pine County District Court to five months in jail and five years of probation in connection with his guilty plea to felony child endangerment in the Aug. 8 death of Thomas Pauza-Moore, 3. The boy died three weeks shy of his fourth birthday.

Dismissed were two manslaughter counts and a charge of negligent storage of a firearm.

"It's important to note that the resolution was supported by the mother of the victim, the law enforcement officers involved in this case, and the Department of Corrections who completed the presentence investigation," County Attorney Reese Frederickson told the Star Tribune.

"This was a heartbreaking case," Frederickson said. "It's one where many will not understand the resolution. On one hand, there are those who think the defendant should not be punished and that he received the ultimate punishment with the death of his child. On the other hand, there are those who believe that no amount of punishment will be enough."

According to the criminal complaint:

Pauza-Moore called 911 at 9:07 p.m. to report the shooting. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene 19 minutes later.

Law enforcement officers saw an empty holster and a cellphone between the bed and one wall, and a semiautomatic pistol atop an unlocked gun safe.

Pauza-Moore told the Sheriff's Office he was on the main level playing video games while his son was watching a show on a cellphone. He said he sent Thomas upstairs alone so he could recharge the cellphone and keep watching the show.

The gunshot sent Pauza-Moore and his roommate to the bedroom, where they saw the boy bleeding on the floor.

Pauza-Moore said "the gun had been in a holster on the top part of the safe," the charges read. He said the weapon had no safety mechanism.

Along with the handgun, law enforcement found in Pauza-Moore's open bedroom closet an unloaded AR-15-style rifle and a loaded pump-action shotgun.

"The firearms were at floor level and accessible to the child," the charges noted. "Law enforcement further located three handguns and two rifles in [the roommate's] room."

The boy's mother told law enforcement that she had moved out of the home on June 26. She recalled telling him to keep the guns locked up, but he never used the gun safe while she was living there.