A 6-year-old boy playing with a gun believed to belong to his mother accidentally shot and killed his 5-year-old brother in New Jersey, officials said.
The children were playing at an East Orange halfway home where their mother, 22-year-old Itiyanah Spruill, was staying when the older boy fired the gun, hitting his little brother in the head at about 11 a.m. Saturday, according to reports.
The 5-year-old boy, identified by relatives as Christopher, was rushed to University Hospital in Newark, but he could not be saved.
Spruill was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child and a weapons violation, authorities said. She was being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility on $130,000 bail.
Spruill had reportedly been living on the block for 10 days and was slated to move into her own apartment in 10 days.
Spruill was enrolled in a mental health program and was in the process of getting her GED, authorities said. She was reportedly home at the time of the shooting.
Loved ones created a GoFundMe page to offset the cost of a funeral for Christopher.
“I hope to raise as much as I can to help the family with burial expenses,” Mika Shirele Richardson, who said she was Christopher’s aunt, told NJ.com.
The page had raised about $1,300 of its $15,000 goal by Monday.
“Such a shame. Rest easy. So sad,” one donor wrote.
“My heart goes out to the family of the little prince. Especially his brother,” another person wrote. “May he know it wasn’t his fault and no one use it against him as he grows up.”