Police: Boy, 11, fatally shot by 6-year-old - KMSP-TV

Police: Boy, 11, fatally shot by 6-year-old

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BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- An 11-year-old boy from southwestern Illinois was fatally shot -- on accident -- by a 6-year-old friend, authorities said Wednesday.

Belleville police spokesman Mark Heffernan said the shooting happened around 11 p.m. Tuesday at a home during a family barbecue, according to the (Belleville) News-Democrat. He said that three children, including the victim, were alone upstairs in a home while adults were downstairs.

The St. Clair County Coroner's office identified the victim as Leonard J. Smith Jr.

An autopsy conducted Wednesday showed he died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Police said Smith was a resident of East St. Louis and was visiting the family in Belleville.

The gun did not belong to the owners of the Belleville home, authorities said.

"Indications are that the firearm was at the residence temporarily being kept there at the request of an acquaintance of the resident," Heffernan said.

Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly was reviewing the investigation to see if any charges would be filed.

"This is obviously a very tragic situation, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim's family," Heffernan told the newspaper. "Those who own firearms need to ensure their firearms are secured so we don't have another tragic situation like the one we've been investigating."

In 2011, Belleville police investigated a fatal accidental shooting when a 5-year-old was shot to death by his 10-year-old brother. The boys had been playing with a shotgun inside the family's home. No charges were filed.

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