TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Brandon Holt, the 6-year-old accidentally shot by his 4-year-old neighbor on Monday night, has died, CBS 2 has confirmed.
Police said Holt was shot in the head by his friend after the younger boy went into his home on McCormick Avenue and somehow got his hands on a .22-caliber rifle. Though authorities said they are not sure how the 4-year-old obtained the gun, sources told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan on Tuesday that the boy found the rifle under a bed.
Police said the 4-year-old then went outside and accidentally shot the 6-year-old, who was sitting in a quad nearby.
It’s unclear if he pulled the trigger or if the rifle accidentally discharged. The 4-year-old boy’s parents were home at the time of the incident, police said.
“The parents [of the 4-year-old] were in the yard nearby, at which point a shot went out,” said Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy.
CBS 2’s Sloan saw several people going in and out of the 4-year-old boy’s home on Tuesday, but could not get a comment from them.
However, others in the neighborhood were talking.
“I just heard they were playing shooting,” one neighbor said. “The little boy knew where the gun was and he went and got it.”
“The issue really is to find exactly what the facts were, where the gun was,” Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said. “Once we make those determinations we’ll be in a better position to go forward.”
Holt was flown to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune with a head injury. He had been listed in very serious condition earlier Tuesday.
“It’s really difficult to deal with. This is something that shouldn’t have happened. It’s horrible,” said Daniel Watkins, Holt’s uncle. “He was playing near the [4 year old’s] house. They’re friends. They play together.”
“I came outside and I saw, I guess it was the mom, she was waving down the ambulance,” neighbor Debbie Coto added.
Coto and others said they were angered by the shooting.
“My dad was a hunter. We had guns. Those guns were locked away. We didn’t know where to find them,” Coto said.
Other neighbors said they would be there for the 6-year-old’s parents.
Several other weapons were removed from the home, investigators told CBS 2’s Sloan.
New Jersey gun owners who know minors could have access to them are required by law to properly secure the guns, Sloan reported. Securing methods could include using a container box or a trigger lock. Failing to do so could lead to disorderly persons offense, a misdemeanor, Sloan reported.
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