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Dakota County Attorney's Office

No Delinquency Charges Filed in Bow and Arrow Death Accident in Carver County

​Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced today that no delinquency charges will be filed in connection with the bow and arrow accident on October 13, 2012 in Chaska, Carver County which resulted in the death of 16-year-old Spencer Swanson.  The Dakota County Attorney handled this matter on a conflict basis from the Carver County Attorney.

At approximately 6:25 p.m. on October 13, 2012, officers were dispatched to an address in Chaska located in Carver County.  From the investigation, it was learned that a 16-year-old friend of Spencer Swanson had recently received a PSE compound bow.  The bow was a 50 pound model that had ceased being manufactured in 1999.  The juvenile friend had no prior experience with bows, and had practiced with it at an archery range on one prior occasion.  The bow had just been restrung, and the juvenile wanted to show Spencer the bow before they went to the community center to play basketball that evening.  The juvenile had a blunt tip less arrow in the bow which he reported was pointed at a tree.  When the juvenile saw Spencer riding a bike down a grassy hill towards him the juvenile attempted to let up on the arrow to remove it from the bow.  As the juvenile did so, his fingers lost their grip on the bow string, and the blunt tip less arrow shot approximately 94 feet and struck Spencer in the forehead.  The juvenile called 911 immediately and ran to aid Spencer, disentangled Spencer from his bike, pulled out the arrow, and placed pressure on the wound in an attempt to help his friend.  Spencer was transported by ambulance after police and medical personnel arrived at the scene to a local medical center and then to HCMC where he died on October 15, 2012 of his injury.

Backstrom indicated that no drugs or alcohol were involved in the incident.  Backstrom further stated that it was unlikely the arrow ricocheted after hitting the ground as the juvenile initially believed.  Backstrom also said that no evidence indicated that the juvenile had intended to shoot the arrow, shoot the arrow in the direction of his friend, or intended to injure his friend. 

Backstrom indicated that the name of a juvenile suspect in a criminal investigation is not public information under Minnesota law.

Backstrom expressed his sympathy to the family and friends of Spencer Swanson for their great loss.

If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.