East Orange church to pay funeral expenses for boy killed by brother

An East Orange church says that it will pay the funeral expenses for a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed by his brother, who somehow got ahold of their mother's gun.

The reverend at the New Hope Baptist Church says that the church will fully pay for the funeral for 4-year-old Christopher Lassiter.

"The fact that the mother is in jail, a 4-year-old is dead and a 5-year-old is responsible is a tragedy, and our church wants to be there to support and help them," says the Rev. Dwight Gill.

The boys' mother, 22-year-old Itiyanah Spruill, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and a weapons violation.

Officials say that Spruill's 5-year-old son found her loaded gun and accidentally shot his brother Saturday on Norman Street in East Orange.

News 12 New Jersey is told that the boys were under a grandmother's guardianship, but were often seen at Spruill's home.

Spruill is due to appear in Essex County Court Tuesday morning. According to court records, Spruill has previously been in trouble with the law. She's previously been charged for unlawful possession of a gun.

Christopher Lassiter's funeral is set for Friday at 10 a.m. and will be open to the public. Rev. Gill says that they are still trying to figure out if Spruill will be allowed to attend.

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