TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – The lawyer for the New Jersey man whose 4-year-old son accidentally shot and killed a 6-year-old playmate said his client is cooperating.
Attorney Robert Ebberup released a statement Wednesday in which he criticized the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office for arresting his client in front of his family while they ate dinner Monday.
Ebberup said had they been warned, 33-year-old Anthony Senatore would have made arrangements to voluntarily turn himself in to face charges of child endangerment and enabling access by a minor to a loaded firearm.
Brandon Holt, 6, was shot in the head by Senatore’s son after the younger boy went into his home on McCormick Avenue in Toms River 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 last month 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.
“Outside of the Holt family, no other person or family grieves more over the loss of Brandon,” Ebberup said. “There is not one day that passes where my client does not feel the pain and sorrow over the loss of such a wonderful child.”
Officials said four shotguns were found close to ammunition and accessible to Senatore’s three children in their Toms River home.
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.
Ebberup said Senatore has waived his right to an initial court appearance. The next court date hasn’t yet been set. Senatore is free on $100,000 bail.
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