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St. Paul man charged after 11-year-old shot in head by 13-year-old girl

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A 33-year-old St. Paul man has been charged after his 13-year-old niece shot an 11-year-old boy in the head inside his apartment, seriously injuring him, according to a complaint filed in Ramsey County on Monday.

The shooting happened around 9 p.m. Friday on the 800 block of Pierce Butler Route in St. Paul. The suspected shooter was found five minutes away along Charles Avenue, according to police. As she was taken into custody, she allegedly stated she "accidentally shot somebody" and "didn't know the gun was loaded."

Martinez Castillo Lloyd is facing one count each of illegal possession of a firearm and negligent storage of firearms for the incident.

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Charges state Lloyd is the father of some of the children who were in his apartment. There were also several friends and relatives on hand, ranging in age from 10 to 13 years old. Lloyd allegedly left to go to the store. After he left, the 11-year-old boy and Lloyd's 13-year-old niece went into his bedroom and retrieved two of his firearms. The firearms were kept in a "higher up unlocked drawer in a closet that the juveniles can easily reach," charges state.

The two admitted that they had played with the firearms "a dozen times" over the last year when Lloyd was not around and that the guns were typically unloaded. The 13-year-old suspect said she had last played with the firearm the weekend prior.

Charges say that as the girl was waving a revolver, it went off, hitting the young boy in the face.

In an interview with police, Lloyd told investigators he had seen the children playing with the guns in the past and had told them to put them back. He added he usually kept the guns unloaded in a high cabinet and had them only for protection.

During a search of the apartment, police recovered two handguns, according to St. Paul police.

Due to a prior felony conviction, Lloyd is not allowed to possess a firearm or ammunition.

The boy remains in critical condition.

"This tragedy is a painful reminder of the need to safely and securely store guns out of the reach of children," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

Lloyd's first court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Since 2016, Ramsey County has given out free gun locks and a St. Paul law requires guns to be stored safely. The group Protect Minnesota says that doesn't go far enough.

"The worst part about it knowing that situations like these really are preventable," said Maggiy Emery with Protect Minnesota. "I don't think the laws we have are sufficient. I don't think the investments we have are sufficient until we are seeing zero gun deaths every year."

The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus said, "We believe that current law is sufficient, as evidenced by the charges in this case."

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