This is SO sad. A 6-year-old boy was playing with a gun when he shot and killed his younger brother on June 25. Their mother, Itiyanah Spruill, has now been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and a weapons violation related to the death.
Our hearts are completely breaking right now! In a horrific tragedy that occurred on June 25, a New Jersey boy, 6, fatally shot his 4-year-old brother in the head while playing with his mother’s gun. And while authorities deemed the shooting accidental, the children’s mother, Itiyanah Spruill, 22, has been charged. Itiyanah is currently being held in jail.
“I don’t understand, why would you have a loaded gun in your house anyway and have kids?” a neighbor of the family, whose name wasn’t released, told CBS New York. “If you do have a firearm, you need to have it in a lockbox.” And we have to agree — this horrific tragedy has completely shocked the country. And the worst part is, it didn’t have to happen.
The accident occurred at the children’s home in East Orange, N.J., around 11 a.m. Saturday, June 25, according to the Jersey Journal. The four-year-old, whose name was not released was shot in the head by his older brother, whose name was also not released, and was rushed to University Hospital in Newark. At the hospital, the toddler underwent emergency surgery. However, he was later pronounced dead. How devastating.
Police have since arrested the children’s mother, Itiyanah, and charged her with endangering the welfare of a child and a weapons violation related to the death, according to NJ.com. Itiyanah is currently being held in jail on a $310,000 bail while she awaits arraignment.
And while it remains unknown how the child got a hold of the weapon, a spokesman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the gun does belong 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,” NJ1015.com reported.
And community activists have revealed that Itiyanah did NOT have custody of the boys and that they lived with their grandmother. Apparently she had been living in the home where the shooting occurred for only 10 days and was reportedly scheduled to move into another apartment soon. The station also reported that the 22-year-old was enrolled in a mental-health program and was completing her GED.
This heartbreaking news comes on the heels of intense discussions surrounding gun control laws in the U.S. Even celebs are speaking out and tweeting in the wake of the horrific Orlando nightclub and Christine Grimmie shootings. And protesters all over the country are pleading that it’s time for Congress to pass some stricter gun safety legislation.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — are you shocked that this tragedy happened? Please express your condolences below.