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By LORA PABST, Star Tribune

A 3-year-old boy from Nerstrand, Minn., died Tuesday after being accidentally shot in the head by his 6-year-old sister, who was playing with a handgun, according to the Rice County Sheriff's Office.
The girl was handling a loaded, unlocked .357-Magnum revolver that the two children had found in an unlocked night stand in the upstairs bedroom of their home, said Rice County Sheriff Richard Cook.
"It's not clear whether she was attempting to shoot the gun or if it went off on accident," Cook said. "But they felt it was a toy."
He said the brother and sister were just a few feet away from each other when the gun went off, striking the boy in the back of the head.
The little girl told investigators that she initially pulled the trigger and nothing happened, Cook said. She pulled the trigger again and shot the boy.
"There was an empty chamber in the gun, so it appears that the firing pin struck that first," he said.
The boy was airlifted from the field of an elementary school in Nerstrand, which is about 55 miles south of the Twin Cities, to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, where he was pronounced dead about 5:30 p.m.
Cook said the names of the victim and the young girl will be released today.
He said that the gun and the home are owned by the mother's boyfriend, whom public records show as Terrance Kalina.
Kalina was at work when the shooting happened and the mother was downstairs washing dishes, Cook said. The mother called 911 at 3:15 p.m.
"They both knew [the gun] was there," he said, adding that the little girl was in shock.
Neighbors said that Kalina had lived in the home for "quite a few years" and that his girlfriend had lived there for about a year. They reported hearing a gunshot and then screaming coming from the house.
"What a tragic lesson to have to learn," Cook said. "It's paramount that people protect their children from weapons in the home."$urlTrackSectionName
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