- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - Authorities have decided to close all hearings, seal court files and make no further public comments about the case against a 9-year-old boy accused of shooting his 4-year-old brother in Hastings.

The decisions were announced in a news release from County Attorney Donna Fegler Daiss after a closed hearing on Tuesday in Adams County Juvenile Court, the Hastings Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/11KCE3E ).

“At this time the court is ensuring that the needs and interests of the juvenile are paramount while protecting the safety of the juvenile’s family and the public,” Fegler Daiss said. She’d said last week that the files in the case were under seal because it is being treated as a mental health issue.

Authorities have said the boy fired a .22-caliber rifle bullet that struck the 4-year-old on April 18. The younger boy was pronounced dead later at a local hospital. Other family members were home when the shot was fired.

A juvenile manslaughter charge was filed against the older boy, whose name hasn’t been released.

Authorities said the rifle is owned by the boyfriend of the victim’s mother.

In an affidavit filed with his request for a divorce from the boys’ mother, the boys’ father said the boyfriend lives with the boys’ mother in the Hastings house and has ammunition and several firearms there.

The father also said the boys’ mother had met with school officials to talk about threats the older boy had made. It was unclear who had been threatened.

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Information from: Hastings Tribune, http://www.hastingstribune.com

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