BALTIMORE (AP) _ A boy has been charged with murdering his best friend with a sawed-off shotgun the two 10-year-olds found in an alley near their homes.

William Munford, 10, died of a single shot to the chest Wednesday, police said.

The suspect, who was to appear in juvenile court this afternoon, pointed the gun at William and fired, Detective Albert Marcus said.

''It is our determination at this point that this was a willful act,'' said Robert Weinhold, a police spokesman. Police charged the boy with first-degree murder and a weapons violation, but did not release his name because of his age.

The victim's mother and neighbors insisted the shooting must have been accidental.

''I don't think it was meant to be,'' said neighbor Gloria Jacobs. ''The children were friends. They played together every day.''

William had told his mother that he knew where he could find a real gun, but she said she told him not to go near it.

''I told William, 'Do not touch the gun,''' Edna Munford said as detectives stood over her son's body. ''I didn't think to call the police.''