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FATHER OF A YOUNG BOY SHOT DEAD BY COUSIN HAS FLOWN TO SAMOA

SAD FAMILY: Pita Leausa, father of the 8-year-old boy who fired the shot, with his wife Pafuti Pita with their other children. [Samoa Observer]

The Kiwi 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 was visiting the village of Samamea, 44km from the capital Apia, with his family when he, his cousin and uncle went into the woods to shoot pigeons and collect coconuts on Wednesday, Samoa's Weekend Observer reported.
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 had returned to Samoa today and was receiving support from the New Zealand High Commission on the island.

Samoan 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.



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