NJ mom arrested after boy, 6, shoots and kills younger brother
EAST ORANGE — Authorities say a 6-year-old New Jersey boy playing with a gun fatally shot his 4-year-old brother in the head. Their mother, meanwhile, who already has been in and out of jail several times before, was charged and arrested.
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office says the children were at their home in East Orange when the shooting occurred about 11 a.m. Saturday. Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly says the child was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:26 p.m. He says the shooting apparently was an accident.
He says the boy's mother, 22-year-old Itiyanah Spruill, has been arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child and a weapons violation. Bail was set at $310,000. He says she was jailed, pending arraignment.
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!"
A city spokeswoman says the gun belonged to the boy's mother. It wasn't immediately known how the 6-year-old got the gun.
The accident in Essex County comes days after a 4-year-old girl in Philadelphia died after shooting herself in the head with a gun inside her home.
The incident also recalls the 2013 Toms River incident in which a 4-year-old shot and killed his 6-year-old neighbor with a rifle his dad kept under the bed along with other unsecured shotguns, officials said. The preschooler’s parents were made to pay $572,588 to the victim’s family. The father, Anthony Senatore, pleaded guilty to child endangerment and was sentenced in 2015 to three years in prison, serving nine months before he was paroled.
East Orange police and investigators with Essex County’s Major Crimes Task Force are investigating the shooting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email email@example.com.