New Zealand boy, 5, shot to death by cousin, 8, in Samoa


A clean beach in Saleapaga, Samoa.


Hannah Johnston

A New Zealand boy, 5, was shot and killed by his 8-year-old cousin in Samoa, according to reports.

The boy was reportedly visiting family in the village of Samamea, on the island's north east coast last week.

Local media reported that the boys were out hunting pigeons and collecting coconuts with a male adult relative, Samoa's Weekend Observer reported.

It is understood the gun was left under a tree and the boys were fighting over it when it went off.

The 5-year-old was shot in the face from about 15 feet away and killed.

"My brother turned away for less than a minute then the next minute he heard a gunshot," the Observer quoted Leausa as saying.

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

While the Observer reported that the 8-year-old had been arrested and was likely to be charged with murder, Radio New Zealand cited Samoan police as saying it was unlikely he would be charged.

The 8-year-old's father, Pita Leausa, told the Observer that they were heartbroken over the incident but that, "He didn't mean to hurt anyone." 

The deceased boy, named James according to the Otago Daily Times, was the eldest of three children.