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Medical examiner issues report on fatal shooting of Aitkin County teen

AITKIN, Minn. -- The death of Dawson Vanportfliet, an eighth-grader at Aitkin High School, was ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office.

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Dawson Vanportfliet. (Forum News Service)

AITKIN, Minn. - The death of Dawson Vanportfliet, an eighth-grader at Aitkin High School, was ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office.

Dawson Vanportfliet, 14, was shot in the head and neck May 31 at his home. He died June 4 at Hennepin County Medical Center of complications from the gunshot wound. The Aitkin County Sheriff's Office stated the shooting was believed to be accidental. Sunday, the medical examiner's office noted a shooting death, where the gun is not in the hands of the victim, is considered to be a death at the hands of another and thus is ruled a homicide. But, the medical examiner's office noted, that ruling does not determine there was an intent to injure the other person. The sheriff's office reported the teenager was shot while his father, Dennis, was handling a .40 caliber Sig Sauer pistol.

The sheriff's office was called at 9:50 p.m. May 31 to a report of a shooting at a rural Aitkin address on Grandview Drive. When deputies arrived on scene a couple of minutes later, they observed Dawson Vanportfliet with a wound to the neck and CPR being performed on him. The 14-year-old was transported by North Ambulance to Riverwood Health Care Center in Aitkin and by North Memorial Air Care to Hennepin County Medical Center.

Aitkin County Sheriff Scott Turner said Sunday the incident is still under investigation.

"It is still being considered accidental in nature," Turner said.

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