There will be no jail time for a St. Paul man whose toddler son was accidentally shot in the head. Instead, a judge ordered Lue Xiong Thursday to educate other parents about firearm safety.
Xiong's 2-year-old son, Jacob, suffered a head injury after the boy's 9-year-old brother was playing with their father's handgun. The gun was stored in an unlocked drawer next to the parents' bed. The older son pointed it at Jacob's head and pulled the trigger, thinking the gun wasn't loaded.
Xiong pleaded guilty to keeping a loaded handgun in a drawer next to his bed, within reach of his children.
It was clear Xiong never intended for his child to be hurt, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said.
"He'll be reminded of this for the rest of his life. The important thing here is that the behavior changes and this doesn't happen again," Choi said. "But at the same time, I don't want to do further harm to this family."
Xiong's attorney said his client will use his story to educate other members of the Hmong American community. A similar case last week in Minneapolis resulted in the death of left a 2-year-old boy. Police said the boy's 4-year-old brother accidentally fired the fatal shot. No charges have been filed in that case.
Xiong's attorney, Cullin Smith, says Xiong was devastated by his mistake.
"At the end of the day, there's no greater lesson than a family can learn to have a child be hurt," Smith said. "Thankfully, Jacob is thriving today. Although he's only a toddler, he's running, he's playing, and in the long run we believe he's not going to have any long-term ramifications from this."
• Follow Laura Yuen on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/laura_yuen