8-Year-Old Boy Shot By Father While Protecting Mother From Him, Family Says

8-Year-Old Boy Shot By Father While Protecting Mother From Him, Family Says

An 8-year-old Minnesota boy died on Sunday after shielding his mother from a shooting allegedly committed by his father, his family said.

Danair Harden, 30, allegedly shot his son, Amir Harden, on June 5, according to the Star Tribune. The boy was rushed to a local hospital in Hennepin County but days later died of his injuries.

According to the Star Tribune, Harden was in Dakota County District Court earlier that day on domestic violence charges. He’d allegedly choked Cherish Edwards, Amir Harden’s mother, in their home days before the shooting.

Edwards had told police that she was concerned that Harden would assault her again, as there had been been several other domestic disputes between them years ago, according to a charging document cited by the outlet. She also told officers that Harden had a permit to carry a gun and often had one with him.

Amir Harden via GoFundMe
Amir Harden via GoFundMe GoFundMe

A spokesperson for the Burnsville Police Department told HuffPost in an email that “authorities believe there was a family situation that led up to the incident,” adding that there other people inside the home at the time.

Edwards provided more detail on the shooting in a GoFundMe.

She said she was Harden’s initial target, but her son tried to wrestle the gun out of his father’s hand and was shot instead.

“I screamed for him to leave and go to the neighbors, he refused & said ‘mommy, im not leaving you here’,” Edwards wrote.

Harden shot himself in the head immediately after shooting his son, according to the fundraiser.

In an interview with local news station KSTP, Edwards said that Amir’s four siblings were home at the time of the shooting and witnessed their brother getting shot. She opened up to the outlet about the guilt she feels as well as grief following Amir’s death.

“That bullet was for me and not my child,” she said.

Burnsville Police responded to the shooting at around 11:48 p.m. on June 5 and found a child and an adult in critical condition, according to a press release shared with HuffPost. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office later identified the boy as Amir Harden.

Police said in the release that the adult suspect is being treated for injuries from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The spokesperson told HuffPost that “no arrest have been made because the suspected shooter is still in critical condition.”

Amir was “known for his infectious smile and kind heart, and his presence,” Logan Schultz, the principal of his elementary school, told HuffPost in a statement.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to Amir’s family, friends, and the entire Echo Park Elementary School community as we mourn this tragic loss together,” Schultz wrote.

In an interview with KSTP, Edwards had a message for other mothers who are living with domestic violence.

“I know a lot of women try to see the good, especially when you have children with that person. Or, you think you’re alone or you don’t have help, and you can’t leave, you feel stuck,” Edwards said.

“I didn’t want my family to be the example of what can happen. But unfortunately, we are,” she added.

According to research published by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. The organization also cited the presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation as increasing the risk of a homicide by 500%.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.