The New Jersey father of a 4-year-old boy who accidentally shot and killed his 6-year-old neighbor has been arrested, accused of having multiple unsecured weapons accessible to children, officials said. Jen Maxfield reports.
The father of a young New Jersey boy who fatally shot his 6-year-old playmate has been indicted on six counts of child endangerment.
An Ocean County grand jury returned the indictment against Anthony Senatore of Toms River on Wednesday.
Authorities say the 33-year-old Senatore had multiple unsecured weapons in his home. They say his 4-year-old son got a .22-caliber rifle and fired a single shot that struck his 6-year-old neighbor, Brandon Holt, in the head, on April 8.
Holt died the next day.
Senatore was arrested several weeks after the shooting, following a lengthy investigation, and was later freed on $100,000 bail.
His lawyer, Robert Ebberup, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday afternoon but has said in the past that his client is a devoted husband and father with strong roots in the community and that he's deeply sorrowed by Holt's death.
Senatore faces five counts of second-degree child endangerment — one for each of the five unsecured firearms investigators say they found accessible to his own children, ages 12, 8 and 4. He also was charged with a third-degree count of child endangerment for endangering Holt, for keeping the loaded .22-caliber rifle unsecured in a bedroom where his 4-year-old son was able to access and fire the weapon.
Senatore also faces a disorderly person offense for enabling access by minors to a loaded weapon.
Authorities say that besides the rifle used to fire the fatal shot, two 12-gauge shotguns and two other shotguns were all found unsecured, in close proximity to ammunition and accessible to Senatore's children.
Holt's grandmother told NBC 4 New York after the shooting she was angry the family failed to take adequate care to lock up their guns.
The Holt family has since filed a lawsuit against the Senatores.
Although the shooting occurred in Ocean County, Atlantic County is handling the matter because Senatore has relatives who have worked in law enforcement in Ocean County.