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Mother pleads guilty to child endangerment after son accidentally shoots younger brother in New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey mother whose 5-year-old son fatally shot his 4-year-old brother with her gun has pleaded guilty to child endangerment Monday.

Itiyanah Spruill, 22, faces up to three years in prison when she’s sentenced next month.

The shooting happened around 11 a.m. on June 25 when Spruill’s sons — ages 4 and 6 — were playing with the weapon at her East Orange home. The older boy accidentally fired the gun, fatally striking his little brother, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Itiyanaha Spruill appears in a New Jersey court on June 28, 2016. She pleaded not guilty to endangering the welfare of a child and a weapons violation after her 6-year-old son accidentally shot and killed his 4-year-old brother.

Itiyanaha Spruill appears in a New Jersey court on June 28, 2016.

Spruill did not have custody of the boys, who lived with their grandmother in Union County. They were visiting their mother at a halfway house on Norman Street when the tragedy occurred.

It’s still unclear how the children were able to access to the gun, which belongs to their mother, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said.

Spruill broke down in court back in June when the prosecutor vowed to challenge her request to go to her son’s funeral. She was later granted permission to attend the service, according to a spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Spruill was charged with child endangerment and possession of a gun without a valid permit. She pleaded guilty Aug. 17 to two counts of second-degree child endangerment.

Prosecutors say Spruill will be sentenced as a third-degree offender and likely get a three-year sentence. But she probably will serve less time because of sentencing guidelines and time served.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.