PLYMOUTH — When 7-year-old Keyaris Samuels found a box in his house with a loaded handgun, a new hoverboard allegedly lay beside it. Three other children close to his age were in the yard as he took a closer look.
It was around 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 16.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the victim accidentally discharged the gun,” said Plymouth Police Chief Michael Goldstein. “It was in a box that held a toy, so maybe he assumed, well, this is a toy, too. And it ended up costing him his life.”
Samuels had been shot in the head. The other children allegedly ran to neighbors, who called 911.
When first responders were administering CPR, Samuels’ mother arrived on the scene along Shenandoah Lane.
Goldstein said he and his department are frustrated that the shooting ever happened.
“No officers or EMS personnel should have had to witness that scene,” he said. “No one should have had to offer that many death notifications to the many family members who rushed to the scene.”
Samuels’ mother allegedly had no idea the gun was in the house, Goldstein said. The process of finding who owned the gun should be relatively quick he said.
To help lessen the impact, crisis teams are at the elementary school where Samuels attended, he said. Community resources and chaplains have been present for the family. A debriefing was due to happen the following week to help the emergency personnel.
Samuels was a first-grade student in Wayzata Public Schools. Superintendent Chace Anderson said the school is keeping support staff on hand.
“We are all deeply saddened and impacted by this tragic news,” Anderson said.
Goldstein said the Hennepin County Medical Examiner and the Plymouth Public Safety Department will be in on the investigation. The county attorney will press charges if they are felonious, he said. Otherwise it will go to the city attorney.
“We will do everything we can to get them charged as soon as possible,” he said.
Sandie French, a resident of Brooklyn Center whose nieces, ages 11 and 12, played with Samuels, said the boy was a bright light.
“It’s just overwhelming my two nieces,” French said. “They’re having a hard time coping with it. Because you know it’s somebody that they played with every day and to wake up the next day and knowing they can’t go and get the little boy to come outside. So, you know, that’s a bit much.”
She said it was all preventable. Children are naturally curious about anything they come across, and many parents try to keep their children from seeing guns at such a young age.
Learning about gun violence so young ages children, she said.
“Kids of this world today, heck, they’re like 50 years old in the head,” she said.
Goldstein asked the public to include Samuels and his family in their prayers.
“It was very emotional; it was intense,” Goldstein said, “but there was a lot of people rallying around that group of people and they will continue to do so for a long time.”