Relative arrested after boy shoots boy in Paterson

December 21, 2009 2:41:30 PM PST
They were inseparable best buddies and relatives living under one roof. Now, one young boy has died, shot by the other in a tragic accident. Police say the gun was owned by a 23-year-old relative, who resides in the first floor apartment with the boys.

According to investigators, the handgun was loaded when the children found it in the bedroom.

The 6-year-old accidentally shot and killed his 5-year-old relative while playing with it.

Daron Mayes was shot in the back of the head around 8:20 p.m. Sunday.

"In situations where the child who is responsible - quote-unquote - is also that young, just understanding the trauma that that child is going through and is going to continue to go through, potentially for the rest of his or her life, it's really a horrible, horrible thing," Chief Assistant Passaic County Prosecutor John Latoracca said.

The owner of the gun, Jalik Jones, was not home at the time. Jones was later arrested and charged with reckless manslaughter.

The prosecutor declined to name the 6-year-old who fired the gun.

"The responsible adults here certainly had no reason to believe there was a loaded handgun in that bedroom," Latoracca said. "They are just devastated, as you can imagine."