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NEWARK -- An 11-year-old was holding a gun Saturday when it accidentally fired in a Newark residence and killed a 10-year-old boy, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said in a statement Monday.
Baraka also became the first official to identify the boy killed in the accident as Josiah Coleman. The child's grandfather and neighbor had previously identified the boy at the scene of the shooting on Saturday, but investigators had declined to comment.
"Last week, an 11-year-old was holding a gun in a private home in Newark when the gun discharged accidentally, killing Josiah Coleman, just 10 years old," Baraka said in a statement Monday.
Josiah was apparently visiting the home on the 800 block of South 19th Street for a family party when he was shot around 1:20 a.m. Saturday, relatives and a friend of the boy's family said.
They said Josiah had previously lived at the home, but had since moved to Pennsylvania, and was back in Newark for his sister's birthday.
On Sunday, officials from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office described the shooting as a "tragic accidental discharge."
The shooting prompted Baraka to issue a call for tighter gun control - an issue he has championed in the past.
"How many more tragedies must we endure, before Congress gets the courage to enact strong national gun controls?" Baraka said in the statement.
The ownership of the gun in the accidental shooting has not been revealed by investigators. It has also not been revealed how the 11-year-old gained access to the gun.
Newark Mayor Baraka talks about how they are prepared for the blizzard
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, shown at an event last week, cited Saturday's fatal shooting of a 10-year-old boy by another child to urge Congress to pass tougher gun control laws. (Aristide Economopoulos | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
"Despite the work of the Newark Police Division to take 500 guns off our streets last year, guns of all kinds continue to flow into Newark along the interstates and back roads," Baraka said. "These guns are being purchased in other states, and the fact that New Jersey has the strongest gun controls in America is not enough to stop them. We need strong national gun control. There are too many guns in too many hands in Newark and across America."
Baraka previously cited an accidental shooting involving children in his calls for tighter gun laws. During an impassioned speech at an NAACP event in Jersey City in November 2014, Baraka lamented the shooting of 9-year-old girl critically wounded by her 12-year-old brother, who was playing with a stolen gun he found in a bedroom of their apartment.
Steve Strunsky may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @SteveStrunsky. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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