Shoot­ing in Samoa causes heart­break

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE -

The New Zealand fa­ther of a 5-year-old boy shot dead by his 8- year- old cousin has flown to Samoa to be with the child’s body.

James May, who TVNZ re­ported ear­lier this week as be­ing from Toko­roa, was vis­it­ing the vil­lage of Sa­mamea, 44km from the cap­i­tal Apia, with his fam­ily when he, his cousin and un­cle went into the for­est to shoot pi­geons and col­lect co­conuts on Wed­nes­day, Samoa’s Week­end Ob­server said.

James was shot in the face and killed.

The shoot­ing hap­pened when the un­cle re­port­edly put the loaded gun down briefly while he looked for a stick to carry the co­conuts home, the 8-year-old’s fa­ther, Pita Leausa, told the Ob­server.

‘‘My brother turned away for less than a minute then the next minute he heard a gun­shot,’’ Leausa said.

‘‘The chil­dren were fight­ing over the gun when it hap­pened.’’

A Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade spokesman said the boy was not a New Zealand ci­ti­zen but his fa­ther was.

The man was re­ceiv­ing sup­port from the New Zealand High Com­mis­sion on the is­land.

Samoa Po­lice told Ra­dio New Zealand it was un­clear if the boy’s body would be re­turned to New Zealand or stay in Samoa.

The boy’s mother, Mui May, posted a mes­sage about him on her Face­book page this morn­ing.

‘‘Mommy & daddy miss u soo much son also your sis­ters Karen May, An­gela May, Linda May, Mar­ion an Rochelle an your only 1 brother Barry May . . .’’

Her post­ing was fol­lowed by shocked mes­sages of sup­port and grief from friends and fam­ily.

May’s Face­book said she lives in Apia.

The Ob­server re­ported the boy and his un­cle, Ieti Leausa, had both been ques­tioned.

But Ra­dio New Zealand re­ported po­lice say­ing it was un­likely charges would be laid and the pair were now in the care of rel­a­tives.

The 8-year-old’s par­ents said they were heart­bro­ken.

‘‘He didn’t mean to hurt any­one,’’ Pita told the Ob­server.

Stuff

TRAGEDY: Toko­roa’s James May, 5, was trag­i­cally shot in Samoa.

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