MARSHALL - A 12-year-old boy charged with shooting and killing a younger boy was being held Tuesday in a jail for juveniles in Bethel.
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The 11-year-old boy died after being shot in the chest, Alaska State Troopers said Monday.
The 12-year-old was arrested on a first-degree murder warrant in the death of James Buster, and was being transported to a youth detention facility in Bethel, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.
The two were alone at a fish camp while the adults were upstream fishing. The boys argued, and the older one went into either a cabin or a tent, got a .22 caliber rifle, loaded it and shot the younger boy, Peters said.
Villagers identified the older boy as the brother of the younger one.
A family spokeswoman told The Anchorage Daily News that the shooting was an accident and that the family did not understand the first-degree murder charge.
"We've already lost one boy; now the troopers have taken away the other," said Emilda Buster, James' aunt.
The boy said the shooting was an accident, she said. He didn't know the gun was loaded and it fired accidentally, she said.
The boys were both well-liked, said villager Willie Fitka. He said the older one is quiet and shy. The younger one was his constant sidekick, he said.
Alaska law allows for minors 16 or older to be waived into adult court if charged with murder. The 12-year-old boy faces prosecution as a juvenile.