A 6-year-old New Jersey boy has died after he was shot by a 4-year-old neighbor while playing a game of “pretend shooting,” according to a report.
Police say the victim, Brandon Holt, was playing with his friend Monday evening in Toms River when the younger boy went inside his home and returned with a .22-caliber rifle.
They say the weapon discharged, striking Brandon in the head. The little boy was sitting in a go-kart when he was shot from a distance of 15 yards, according to the Star Ledger, which quoted a neighbor as saying the boys were playing “pretend shooting.” The shooting happened in the yard of the boy who fired the rifle.
Authorities say there were many questions surrounding the gun’s ownership and how it was secured. Charges could be filed.
The shooting happened on on McCormick Drive in Toms River in a quiet suburban neighborhood.
The 4-year-old, police said, took the gun from inside his own home, but it’s still not clear if he pulled the trigger or it the gun discharged accidentally.
“The parents of the 4 year old are the ones who called 911. We’re all just trying to figure out what happened. It’s just a tragic situation,” said Toms River Police Chief, Michael Mastronardy.
Mastronardy told PIX11 the 6-year-old victim was struck in the head and then rushed by to Jersey Shore Medical Center. Meanwhile, a community tries to grapple with the tragic incident in their own backyards
Mastronardy says at this point the department’s investigation is ongoing and their main focus is the family and the victim.
“Why is there a gun laying around the house. I don’t get that part,” said one neighbor.
“If you have young children around and you have a gun around put them away lock them up,” said another.