Authorities confirmed Wednesday that an 11-year-old boy who got hold of a loaded gun last week accidentally shot his 12-year-old schoolmate in Camden.
Neither boy knew the weapon was loaded when the shooting occurred around 8 a.m. Friday in Crestbury Apartments, where the 12-year-old lived, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office and Camden County Police said.
The 11-year-old fired one shot, police said. At the time, the shooting was believed to be an accident. Investigators confirmed that it was not intentional after interviewing both children.
The boys, who are friends, are not related, authorities said. The two were scheduled be in homeroom at H.B. Wilson Family School shortly before 8:30 that morning, police said.
The victim is still recovering at Cooper University Hospital.
Three people familiar with the investigation said the gun was a stolen weapon. It is unclear when and where the theft occurred.
The oldest person in the apartment at the time was the victim's 19-year-old brother, but it was not immediately clear last week who owned the gun.
Authorities are trying to determine the gun's owner and how the children got hold of the weapon.
No charges have been filed.
On Monday, a 33-year-old Toms River, N.J., man was arrested for having multiple unsecured weapons in the home he shared with his three children.
Anthony Senatore's 4-year-old son used one of those weapons, a .22-caliber rifle, to fatally shoot a 6-year-old playmate one time in the head on April 8, authorities said.
Senatore was released Monday on $100,000 bail after the Atlantic County prosecutor arrested him on child-endangerment charges and a disorderly person offense for enabling access by minors to a loaded firearm. The rifle had been in Senatore's bedroom.
A 12-gauge shotgun, two Harrington & Richardson shotguns, and a Remington 12-gauge shotgun were also found unsecured in the house, near ammunition and within reach of Senatore's children, who ranged in age from 4 to 12.
It is illegal in New Jersey for an adult to leave a loaded firearm within a minor's reach. The state has some of the nation's strictest gun laws.
Senatore's attorney, Robert A. Ebberup, released a statement Wednesday criticizing the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office for arresting Senatore in front of his family while they ate dinner in Bayville, the Associated Press reported.
Senatore, a Toms River attorney, would have turned himself in, said Ebberup, who charged the prosecutor with "grandstanding," according to reports.
Ebberup could not be reached Wednesday.
Shortly after the shooting, the state Attorney General's Office directed the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office to take over the investigation because of a potential conflict of interest in Ocean County, where the shooting occurred. Senatore's relatives reportedly worked in law enforcement there.