Mom of boy shot by brother will be allowed to attend funeral

A woman facing weapons and child endangerment charges after her 5-year-old son fatally shot his 4-year-old brother in East Orange, New Jersey over the weekend will be allowed to attend the boy's funeral.

The Essex County Prosecutor's Office confirmed that Itiyanah Spruill will leave jail to attend the services on Friday. She was distraught during a hearing Tuesday, crying as her attorney entered not guilty pleas on her behalf.

The 22-year-old woman remains jailed on $310,000 bail, and her attorney said she would seek to have that amount reduced.

Essex County prosecutors had said the would oppose Spruill's request to attend the funeral.

Officials say the children were at their home when the shooting occurred Saturday morning. Christopher Lassiter died later that day at a hospital.



Authorities have said the gun belonged to her, but it is still unclear how the 5-year-old got a hold of it.

"It's a tragedy, but not only is it a tragedy of the one that died, but the one who is still alive," said The Reverend Dwight Gill, of the New Hope Baptist Church. "So we want to be able to be there for him now, and we're trying to help the family to get through this."

Rev. Gill is now assisting the family with Christopher's funeral arrangements, while his brother is being cared for by their grandmother. The church and the local funeral home are taking care all of the costs.

"People from all around the community have been very generous and very kind," he said. "And everybody understands that it's a very tragic situation."

A wake will be held at the New Hope Baptist Church in East Orange at 10 a.m., with a funeral to follow at noon.
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