Family's grief over shooting death

The mother of a 5-year-old New Zealand boy shot dead while fighting over a gun with her cousin in Samoa has spoken of her grief.

The child, named as James, was visiting family with his mother for White Sunday, a Samoan holiday celebrating children on October 14.

He was reportedly shot in the face by his 8-year-old cousin while playing with a loaded gun which the cousin's father had left under a tree in the village of Samamea, on the north east coast of Samoa's Upolu island, 44km from Apia, on Wednesday night.

"R.I.P to my lovely on my only son JAMES SEUGA MAY...mommy& daddy miss u soo much son also your sisters Karen May,Angela May,Linda May,Marion an Rochelle an your only 1 brother Barry May...(sic)," the child's mother Mui May posted on Facebook.

Explaining what happened to shocked friends she said: "my cousins an friends my son passed away by shot other older brother's step son shot JAMES on the face (sic)."

The cousin's father, Pita Leausa, said his brother, Ieti Leausa, took his son and his nephew to shoot pigeons and collect coconuts for dinner.

He left his loaded gun under a tree while he was looking for leaves and sticks to help carry the coconuts.

"My brother turned away for less than a minute then the next minute he heard a gunshot," Pita Leausa told the Weekend Observer.

"The children were fighting over the gun when it happened."

James was shot in the face and died at the scene.

Ieti Leausa carried his nephew's body home, and was taken by police for questioning with the 8-year-old.

The Observer reported the boy could be charged with murder.


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