August 13, 2019 10:20 PM
A year-long investigation into the death of a 7-year-old boy who accidentally firing a loaded gun has resulted in no charges.
The Plymouth Police Department reported the update to KSTP Tuesday.
"All leads have been exhausted and the case was declined for charges, therefore, the investigation has become inactive," according to Chief Mike Goldstein.
In May 2018, officers found 7-year-old Keyaris Samuels with a gunshot wound to the head at a residence in Plymouth.
Authorities learned Keyaris had opened a hoverboard box that was stored in a bedroom, found the unsecured, loaded handgun, and accidentally fired it. He was shot in the head and died.
Authorities also discovered a half-full box of .357 ammunition in a diaper bag in the residence at which Keyaris was found.
"Keyaris Samuels, a young, innocent victim, should not have died because of the reckless and irresponsible actions of an individual who left a loaded, unsecured handgun in a residence where four young children resided," Chief Mike Goldstein said in a statement. "No family should ever have to endure such a senseless tragedy."
During the course of the investigation, authorities conducted interviews, two separate crime labs collected and tested DNA samples and fingerprints from the gun, forensic investigators pried into cell phones for leads and evidence was repeatedly reviewed.
The case was submitted to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office and the city attorney's office for charging considerations back in May.
The Plymouth Police Department stated both agencies agreed there was not enough evidence to proceed with criminal charges.
"The person responsible we can't hold accountable, we want to and we hope to at some point but as of today, we don't have that option," said Goldstein.
"While we are extremely disappointed with the case outcome, we are grateful to the attorneys, the law enforcement partners who assisted with this case, and I am proud of the work done by our officers and investigators during this year-long investigation," Goldstein said in a statement.
"No stone was left unturned."
Investigators stopped by Keyaris Samuels' home on Shenandoah Lane North Tuesday to explain to his mom, Kyundria Samuels, why this difficult decision was made.
"The hardest part of this is losing my child and dealing with the emotions associated with that, it's kind of hard to say how I will get justice for him... it was a tragic accident. If there was a way I could get justice, I would," Kyundria said.
Keyaris was a first-grader at a Wayzata elementary school. Classmates along with other community members planted a "tree of life" and installed a plaque with his name, date of birth and date of death nearby. The memorial is in the front yard of the family's home.
"It will keep my baby's memories alive," Kyundria said. "He was here for seven years on this earth and that tree won't go anywhere."
Chief Goldstein added Tuesday, although there isn't enough evidence to criminally charge anyone, that doesn't mean a crime wasn't committed.
Officers have a person of interest in mind: a family friend who was staying at their place and arrested on a different charge, a few days after the accidental shooting death. Because that friend has not been arrested in connection with Samuels' death, they are not naming him. When more information surfaces about who is responsible for the gun, he said the investigation can be re-opened.
Rebecca Omastiak & Beth McDonough
Updated: August 13, 2019 10:20 PM
Created: August 13, 2019 11:23 AM
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