Six-year-old Brandon Holt has died from injuries sustained when his 4-year-old neighbor shot him in the head with a 22-caliber rifle Monday evening as they played between their New Jersey homes, reports the Asbury Park Press.
The two boys were playing outside in Holt’s side yard when the 4-year-old, who has not been named, left to retrieve the 22-caliber rifle from inside of his home. He fired one shot into Holt’s head while he sat in a golf cart right beside his garage.
Holt was rushed to Jersey Shore University Medical Center where he was listed in serious, but stable condition. But the young boy eventually took a turn for the worse.
Debi Coto, 53, who lives a little further up the street from Holt’s home, said she did not hear the shots, but did see Holt being carried down his driveway in a stretcher and police carrying a rifle.
“It’s appalling. I still can’t believe that this is all going on,” Coto said. “We just came out to do things, and then we saw the woman and the ambulance and the police. We saw him come down the driveway on a stretcher.”
Coto said her sister watched police take at least 10 guns from the four-year-old boy’s home.
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Reportedly the 4-year-old’s father immediately ran outside to grab the rifle while his mother called 911. According to Police Chief Mastronardy, they are investigating whether the pre-schooler purposely pulled the trigger or if it was fired accidentally.
USA Today reports that Holt was a student at Saint Joseph’s Grade School. Toms River schools Assistant Superintendent James Hauenstein said that counseling services will be provided to students at Cedar Grove Elementary and Saint Joseph’s.