- Associated Press - Friday, April 25, 2014

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska prosecutors charged a 9-year-old boy with juvenile manslaughter for fatally shooting his 4-year-old brother in the head with a .22-caliber rifle.

The boy, whose name was not released, has been taken from his family’s home in Hastings, about 170 miles southwest of Omaha, and placed in the home of another relative.

Prosecutors said that the manslaughter allegation against a juvenile cannot lead to jail or prison. Rather, officials will seek treatment to alter the child’s behavior. Adams County Attorney Donna Fegler Daiss told the Hastings Tribune that the files in the case are under seal because it is being treated as a mental health issue.

Hastings television station KHAS (http://bit.ly/1kc7CJx ) said authorities accused the boy Thursday of firing the bullet that struck his 4-year-old brother the morning of April 18. The younger boy was pronounced dead later at a local hospital. Other family members were home when the shot was fired.

“Based on our investigation at this time it is believed it was not an accidental shooting,” said Fegler Daiss. “There are some questions about how that weapon was loaded and if it was known to have been loaded.”

Authorities have said the rifle is owned by the boyfriend of the victim’s mother. Neither adult has been charged. Authorities are investigating previous incidents that may have occurred in the home.

The Hastings Tribune also said a judge on Thursday granted a motion filed by both boys’ father to gain custody of their sister, who was born in 2005.

In an affidavit supporting his motion, the father, who lives in Greeley, Colo., said the boyfriend lives with the boys’ mother in the Hastings house and has ammunition and several firearms there.

The father also says in the affidavit that the boys’ mother had met with school officials to talk about threats the older boy had made. It was unclear who had been threatened. The affidavit says school officials advised the boys’ mother to remove all weapons from the house.

There was no answer at prosecutors’ offices on Friday because it is the Arbor Day holiday in Nebraska.

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Information from: KHAS-TV, http://www.khastv.com

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