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Investigators Question Half Brother Of Child Shot In Jersey City

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Jersey City police cruiser (credit: CBS 2)

Jersey City police cruiser (credit: CBS 2)

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Balloons and candles adorn a memorial in Jersey City Saturday, left to honor the memory of a young boy who was shot and killed.

Relatives of 12-year-old Hassan George said the last time they saw him alive he told them he was going to the home of his 14-year-old half brother, who wanted to show him something.

They believe that something may have been a gun. Hudson County prosecutors say Hassan was shot once in the chest at a home on Randolph Avenue.

“He was a fun kid. Always laughing,” said family friend Phantazia Patten.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

George’s uncle John Alexander describes it as a tragic accident that played out as the two boys were looking at the gun.

“They were probably playing with, playing around with the gun. He probably didn’t know something was up in the gun,” Alexander told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin. “For some reason it just went off.”

The question of whether this was an accident is part of the investigation. No charges have been filed and this case could ultimately be declared a tragic accident.

At the 14-year-old’s home, CBS 2 met up with the family’s attorney, Ethan Kemp.

“Both families are cooperating with the police and the Prosecutor’s Office,” he told Carlin.

The boy has been questioned, along with his mother Shaara Green-Sims, a veteran Hudson County Corrections Officer.

Investigators say she owned the semi-automatic pistol.

They also believe George was shot inside the home, even though his body was found on the sidewalk out in front.  There was no word from investigators on how he ended up there.

“Now look what happened, I get a call at night, last night, and it’s like ‘Huh?’ I didn’t want to see him go like this,” family friend Chris Robinson told Carlin.

Resident Jamel Snowden was horrified over the shooting death of the 12-year-old he says he used to counsel at a local summer camp.

“A tragedy like this has happened,” Snowden told CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano. “Sports, basketball, football active kid.”

Family members of the two boys declined to speak on camera Saturday but hours after the shooting, the victim’s uncle expressed his grief.

“It’s just hard on the family. Any time a young child gets shot, for a young person who just started their life to get shot, it’s devastating” said uncle Joe Canty.

Neighbors cleaning up crime scene tape Saturday were somber.

“I was sad because it could have been my child,” said resident Wanda King.

While neighbors are left with unanswered questions, prosecutors say they are talking to people who might know something about what led to this boy’s death.

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