Man charged after 2-year-old accidentally shot and killed while in vehicle in southern Minnesota
A southern Minnesota man is now facing criminal charges in connection to the death of a toddler who was accidentally shot by another child while in the back seat of a vehicle last week.
Martin County deputies were called to a report of a shooting in the back seat of a vehicle at around 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 15, and the caller reported the vehicle the victim was inside was headed toward Fairmont.
The sheriff’s office says a deputy was able to intercept the vehicle outside of Fairmont and a man got out of the vehicle with a toddler in his arms and started CPR on the child. That child, a 2-year-old, was taken to a hospital but died two days later, court documents state.
Prosecutors formally charged that man — 33-year-old Colton Dean Mammenga — on Thursday with second-degree manslaughter, child endangerment and negligent gun storage.
According to the charging documents, Mammenga and the child’s mother told deputies that they were in the vehicle with the 2-year-old and a 4-year-old in the back seat when they heard a gunshot and saw the 2-year-old had been shot in the head.
Mammenga told investigators that they’d loaded the children into the truck before he went in the house to get coffee, with the toddler’s mother also in the house. He admitted that he’d left his gun in the pocket of the passenger’s door before getting coffee, which the child’s mother said was typical for Mammenga when he traveled. Mammenga estimated he and the mother were away from the children no more than three to five minutes, a criminal complaint states.
The 4-year-old confirmed to a deputy that he grabbed Mammenga’s gun when Mammenga was in the house and then accidentally fired it as they were traveling on Highway 263, the documents add.
The complaint notes that Mammenga and the toddler’s mother said they didn’t see the 4-year-old with the gun before leaving. A deputy confiscated the gun, which was fully loaded and had a round in the chamber, and also saw a baggie full of 9mm rounds sitting next to the 4-year-old’s car seat, with loose rounds strewn about. A pistol holder was also next to the child’s seat.
Mammenga is charged via summons and is facing up to 10 years in prison for manslaughter, five years for child endangerment and 364 days for negligent gun storage. He is not yet in custody but is set to make his first court appearance on Nov. 7.