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Fairmont, MN (KROC-AM News) - A south-central Minnesota man is facing three felony charges stemming from a shooting earlier this month that claimed the life of a two-year-old child.

Prosecutors in Martin County have charged 33-year-old Colton Mammenga with two counts of second-degree manslaughter and a felony count of child endangerment. The Welcome man also faces a gross misdemeanor charge of negligent storage of firearms.

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The criminal complaint indicates a four-year-old boy was handling Mammenga's handgun when the weapon discharged and a bullet struck the head of his younger brother while the two siblings were riding in the backseat of a pickup truck driven by their mother. The shooting occurred on a highway near Fairmont on the morning of October 15 and the two-year-old boy, who was airlifted to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester for treatment, died two days later.

photo by Andy Brownell
photo by Andy Brownell
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The court document alleges Mammenga left the loaded handgun in a storage pocket in the passenger side front door of the vehicle while he and the children's mother went back into their residence to grab some additional items. The mother told investigators Mammenga would often take his gun off his waistband and place it in the door of the vehicle while traveling.

Mammenga criminal complaint-Martin County Court-
Mammenga criminal complaint-Martin County Court-
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The criminal complaint states that Mammenga admitted to investigators that he had left the gun in the door pocket before he and the mother of the children went into the house. He indicated they were gone for about 3-5 minutes and the older boy had apparently reached into the pocket and grabbed the gun during that short time span.

Mammenga criminal complaint-Martin County Court-
Mammenga criminal complaint-Martin County Court-
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Mammenga then told the investigator that, moments later, while they were traveling on Highway 263 "he heard a loud pop and looked into the back seat and saw blood coming down from the two-year-old's forehead.” He stated that he then grabbed the child and began administering CPR. The charges also indicate that he told a deputy that he did not notice that his gun was missing from the door pocket until after the shooting.

Photo by Bo Harvey on Unsplash
Photo by Bo Harvey on Unsplash (stock photo)
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The first deputy to respond to the shooting came upon the vehicle stopped along the shoulder of the highway and saw Mammenga place the wounded child on the roadway before beginning CPR. The deputy assisted him in providing first-aid before a Mayo Clinic ambulance arrived at the scene. The deputy then investigated and took possession of a loaded handgun. He also found a Ziploc baggie full of 9 mm ammunition next to the four-year-old child's car seat and loose 9 mm rounds strewn about the rear passenger area.

Mammenga is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges next month.

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Gallery Credit: Samm Adams

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