MONTREAL – A 12-year-old boy has been charged in connection with the shooting death of his older brother in a case that has devastated a family and shocked neighbours.
The boy was charged Tuesday with manslaughter and illegal possession of a loaded, prohibited weapon.
While authorities are not laying murder charges, they are not describing the shooting as a complete accident either.
“Obviously because he’s charged with manslaughter, it’s not an accident – the evidence doesn’t show it’s an accident,” said Crown prosecutor Marie-Claude Bourassa, without revealing the suspected circumstances.
The boy faces a maximum sentence of three years in youth detention.
He will be detained and is due back in court Friday for a bail hearing.
“We objected to his release today based on the gravity of the offences and because of the information that we have as of now,” Bourassa said after the boy’s court appearance.
Police say the 16-year-old victim was shot in the upper body by a handgun they said could have belonged to the family.
The boy was arrested at the family home after Monday’s shooting and was questioned by investigators overnight, until 5:30 a.m. His identity, and that of his brother, cannot be revealed because they are minors.
The suspect was accompanied by a parent during the interrogation.
“This is a very sad event,” police spokesman Simon Delorme said early Tuesday.
Delorme said police will not reveal the calibre of the gun, or whether it was registered, until investigators are finished meeting with potential witnesses.
He said someone called 911 around 5:30 p.m. to report the shooting in suburban Dorval, Que. Paramedics tried to treat the seriously injured teenager, who was later declared dead at the hospital.
A neighbour described the family in glowing terms. He shared his sadness at seeing one of the parents arrive at the house and leave in a “hysterical” state.
“That mom is one of the nicest ladies you probably have ever met in your life, so sweet and so kind and generous,” the neighbour said.
“I could never imagine what they’re going through at this time of tragedy it’s very sad.”
The neighbour had similar praise for the two boys, whom he said would sometimes offer to help him bring in the groceries.
“The boys are well brought-up, well-raised, very polite,” he said.
“For their age, to be that polite was always a shock to me. I was always astonished about how polite they are.”