Crime & Courts

Boy, 14, charged in stepbrother's shooting death

SALINA — A 14-year-old boy was charged Wednesday in the shooting death of his 9-year-old stepbrother at their rural Kansas home.

Saline County sheriff's Capt. Brian Shea said the 9-year-old was shot Tuesday afternoon at a home in Assaria in southern Saline County. The boys were home alone on summer break from school while their parents worked.

County Attorney Ellen Mitchell said the teenager has been charged as a juvenile with one count of first-degree premeditated murder. Mitchell said she didn't know whether she would seek adult charges.

The Associated Press generally doesn't identify juveniles accused of a crime and is withholding the victim's name because he's related to the suspect.

Shea said the 14-year-old called 911 and said he shot his brother accidentally. But Shea said authorities concluded the shooting was not accidental.

He said that when deputies arrived, they found the teenager waiting outside and the revolver-type handgun used in the shooting had been returned to its usual storage space. Shea also said the younger boy's body was on the front porch, although the shooting occurred inside the home.

The nearest neighbor is about a quarter-mile away.

The older boy was arrested and is scheduled to make his initial court appearance this morning. He was being held in the Saline County Juvenile Detention Facility.

Shea said he didn't know whether the 14-year-old had an attorney. Legal representation would be appointed during the boy's court appearance if he didn't have it, Shea said.

He didn't say what may have prompted the shooting. Shea said the boys had been stepsiblings for several years and he had no knowledge of conflict between them.

Justin Henry, superintendent of the Southeast of Saline district where both boys were students, said the 9-year-old had just finished third grade and the teenager had completed eighth grade.

Henry said a crisis team will be available to meet with the boys' classmates this afternoon. He said he couldn't comment on the boys and added that he didn't have much information about the shooting.