EL CAJON, Calif. -- A 10-year-old boy is suspected to have stabbed a 12-year-old friend to death with a kitchen knife, according to authorities.
The older boy died Monday at a hospital after he was taken from his friend's home in El Cajon, about 15 miles east of San Diego. The mother of the 10-year-old was at home at the time of the stabbing, according to the U-T San Diego newspaper.
San Diego County sheriff's officials took the 10-year-old into custody. Sheriff's homicide Lt. Larry Nesbit said, "the case will be up to the juvenile justice system."
It remained unclear whether the boy had been booked into the juvenile detention system. His name has not been released because of his age. The sheriff's office did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press.
Neighbors said the 12-year-old boy lived in a nearby mobile home park but the two friends attended different schools.
A neighbor of the younger boy, 18-year-old Derek Gorton, told the newspaper the child had emotional issues, and that something as small as tapping him on the shoulder the wrong way or losing at a video game could spark outrage.
"Even though he threw temper tantrums, we never thought he'd do anything like this," said Gorton.
Gorton's father, Brian Richeson, said the boy usually had verbal outbursts, but he hadn't seen him throwing things or hitting others. He praised the boy's mother, saying she had dealt with her son's problems head-on.
"She was the best mom I've ever met," Richeson told the U-T. "She knew how to take care of him if he was yelling and screaming."
Point Loma family psychologist Rochelle Perper told the U-T that charging the 10-year-old as an adult would be a "big stretch," particularly if mental health issues were found.
"More likely there will be a lot more psychological care. The focus should be on rehabilitating someone that young," she told the paper.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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