A 5-year-old New Jersey boy fatally shot his 4-year-old brother in the head while playing with his mother’s gun.

Authorities said the shooting, which investigators deemed accidental, occurred at the children’s home in East Orange, N.J., around 11 a.m. Saturday, according to the Jersey Journal.

The child was rushed to University Hospital in Newark, where he underwent emergency surgery and was later pronounced dead, the paper reported.

Some media outlets reported the older child’s age as 6.

Police arrested the children’s mother — identified as 22-year-old Itiyanah Spruill — and charged her with endangering the welfare of a child and a weapons violation related to the death, according to NJ.com.


Spruill is being held in jail on a $310,000 bail while she awaits arraignment.

Although authorities haven’t said how the child got a hold of the weapon, a spokesman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the gun belonged to the boy’s mother, according to CW affiliate WPIX.

“Spruill already has a record of being charged in 2014 with unlawful possession of a handgun, possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose and aggravated assault, jail records show. It was not immediately clear Saturday how that case was adjudicated in court.”
“And earlier this month she spent four days in jail in Newark on charges of promoting prostitution. It was not clear the status of those charges.”
“Spruill has a neck tattoo that reads: ‘Never Stand Down!'”

Community activists told the station that Spruill did not have custody of the boys and that they lived with their grandmother. The station reported that she had been living in the home where the shooting occurred for only 10 days and was scheduled to move into another apartment soon.

The station also reported that Spruill was enrolled in a mental-health program and was completing her GED.


“This is crazy,” Vania Limage, a neighbor, told CBS New York. “That’s been going on in the news over and over where you hear about those incidents going on.”

“I don’t understand, why would you have a loaded gun in your house anyway and have kids?” another neighbor, whose name wasn’t released, told the station. “If you do have a firearm, you need to have it in a lockbox.”