September 4, 2015 10:25 AM EDT

An 11-year old St. Louis boy shot and killed another 16-year-old boy Thursday during what police say was a home invasion, though eyewitnesses dispute that description of the event.

According to police, the 16-year-old and another person attempted to break into the house of the 11-year-old, who was at home with his 4-year-old sister and no parents. The teen had tried to break into the house several times Thursday, police said. The 11-year-old shot the 16-year-old in the head one time, killing him. Neither child’s name has been disclosed.

A neighbor who said she saw the incident told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the two boys were talking in front of the home when the younger boy shot the teen at point-blank range in the head. Another neighbor said the 11-year-old was on the front porch and called the teen to approach before shooting him. St. Louis County Police Sgt. Brian Schellman cautioned that the investigation into the incident is in its preliminary stages and police still have many interviews to conduct.

The mother of the 11-year-old told police that she bought the gun for protection because her house had been broken into before.
[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

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