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Six-Year-Old Toms River Boy, Shot By 4-Year-Old, Is Dead

Brandon Holt of Toms River died after being shot in the head in the McCormick Drive yard of the 4-year-old, according to Toms River police

A 6-year-old Toms River boy who was shot in the head by a 4-year-old died Tuesday at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, according to Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy.  

"It's true, it's true," a source close to he family said, when asked if Brandon Holt died after being shot in the head Monday night in the McCormick Drive yard of a 4-year-old.

Mastronardy said the matter is under investigation, and any possible criminal action would have to be reviewed by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

"It's a tragic thing that happened," said Mayor Thomas Kelaher Tuesday night. "It's a terrible tragedy."

Mastronardy said that the 4-year-old boy obtained a .22 caliber rifle from inside the residence. The state Division of Youth and Family Services were also called to the scene because there were three other children in the home.

The parents were "nearby" when the incident occurred, the chief said. The mother of the 4-year-old called 911. The 6-year-old was flown to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune with a head injury and was in serious condition as of Tuesday morning, the chief said. 

Kelaher, as well as Township Council President George Wittmann, told Patch after the regular Township Council meeting that their thoughts are with the families.

"I think it's a terrible tragedy that a 4-year-old boy was able to get a hold of a rifle that was loaded," Wittman said. "I think it's incumbent upon gun owners to keep their firearms in a safe location where they cannot be accessed by children."

"It does behoove everybody who has weapons in the township to make sure they're secure," Kelaher said.

The shooting occurred in the Cedar Grove area of the township, according to Toms River schools Assistant Superintendent James Hauenstein, who received the news during a New Jersey School Boards Association meeting Monday night. 

The children were outside the home when the 4-year-old boy went inside to get the rifle, and then shot the 6-year-old about 15 yards away, the chief said. Mastronardy did not say if the 4-year-old pulled the trigger, or if the rifle accidentally discharged. The 4-year-old's parents were home at the time, but no names have been released. Authorities were on scene at a McCormick Drive home Monday night and had the yard cordoned off with yellow tape.

Toms River police and county vehicles remained on the scene. Hauenstein said that the victim is a student at Saint Joseph's Grade School. He said that Toms River schools officials will be available to provide counseling services to students at Cedar Grove Elementary and Saint Joseph's. 

Toms River Police Department Detectives Louis Santora and Roger Hull are investigating along with the Ocean County's prosecutor's office and sheriff's department, Mastronardy said.

Joe April 10, 2013 at 05:29 PM
I cry evrytim :'(
Sanriobaby April 10, 2013 at 07:03 PM
Tragedies like this only happen when gun owners fail to properly store their weapons out of reach of children. Kids are SO FAST, and no matter how much you explain and teach them about gun safety, there will always be some that will let their curiosity take over what was taught to them. My heart goes out to both families, but there will never be enough sorrys in this world that will bring back the child who died to his parents. Gun owners need to take proper care EACH AND EVERY TIME they have their weapons out of storage, especially if there are children on the property. This is a heartbreaking story but one that could have totally been avoided.....
shirley jones April 10, 2013 at 09:36 PM
Sanriobaby.......you just refuse to GET it.....guns kill and will continue to kill over and over again....so this is just another "oops, forgot to put the gun away....sorry". When it happens to you or a loved one, you'll get it.
Sanriobaby April 10, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Trust and believe, I GET IT. That is why I DON'T own a gun nor do I allow my child or any minor in my care to be in a house that has a gun in it. Whenever I make a play date, I ALWAYS ask if that parent has a gun in the home, if they do, then I offer to have the play date in my home instead. If a family member or friend has a gun in the home, then I don't bring my child there. Even if they offered to show my how/where they stored the gun/s I always decline. Why? B/c as a former teacher, nanny, and now parent, I KNOW how kids are, and at the end of the day, you can't trust that a child will follow the rules of that home. I know that a child's curiosity and their desire to show off to their friends can overshadow every rule spoken to them about not touching a gun. And while I'm sure most gun owners are responsible, not all of them are. There were some who were QUITE offended that I wouldn't allow my child in their home, but guess what, she's my kid and I don't care about offending gun owners b/c I want my kid safe. So I get it. I will never have a gun in my home, but it's legal to do so if you wish. I agree, guns kill and accidents like this will continue to happen because of the carelessness of gun owners who don't take extreme precautions with their weapons when there are children living/visiting their home. I don't know what in my post lead you to believe that I don't get it...
leaf April 13, 2013 at 11:51 PM
Stupid, stupid parents...who keeps a loaded gun with access by a four year old in their home? Stupid, irresponsible, awful parents. I hope the four year old is removed from the home and the parents charged for manslaughter. What a tragedy.

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