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Father of Toms River 4-year-old who shot, killed Brandon Holt, 6, charged

8:50 PM, May 14, 2013   |    comments
Brandon Holt
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TOMS RIVER, N.J. ( - The father of a 4-year-old boy who shot and killed Brandon Holt, 6, has been arrested and charged with having multiple unsecured weapons accessible to children, authorities said Monday night.

About 6:30 p.m. Monday, detectives from the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office arrested Anthony Senatore, 33, at a home in the Bayville section of Berkeley, according to a statement by Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain.

On April 8, Senatore's 4-year-old son gained access to an unsecured .22-caliber rifle in Senatore's bedroom and fired a single shot, which struck a 6-year-old neighbor, Brandon Holt, in the head.
Brandon Holt died at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune the day after the accident.

The charges against Senatore state that in addition to the loaded .22-caliber rifle used to fire the fatal shot, a Stevens 12-gauge shotgun, two Harrington & Richardson shotguns and a Remington 12-gauge shotgun were all found unsecured in close proximity to ammunition and accessible to Senatore's own children, ages 12, 8 and 4.

Senatore has been charged with five counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of children and one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, the statement said. Poll: Are the charges are appropriate?

He was charged with one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child for each of the five unsecured firearms found accessible to his own children - for whom he has a legal duty of care.

Senatore also was charged with the third-degree endangering of Brandon Holt for keeping a loaded .22-caliber rifle unsecured in a bedroom where his 4-year-old son was able to access and fire the weapon.

A second-degree criminal offense carries a penalty of five to 10 years in prison, and a third-degree crime carries a penalty of three to five years in prison, according to the Prosecutor's Office.

In addition, Senatore has also been charged with enabling access by minors to a loaded firearm.

Senatore was sent to the Ocean County Jail in Toms River, on $100,000 bail. Authorities, late Monday, said that Senatore had posted bail.

Attempts to reach Ronald Holt, Brandon's father, and his uncle, Randy, were unsuccessful Monday.

The Holts were not at their McCormick Drive home Monday night following Senatore's arrest, and according to a Facebook post by a relative, they are not staying at their home because the neighborhood is a reminder of the shooting that claimed the life of their son.

Purple ribbons were, however, still present Monday night in the neighborhood where Brandon Holt lived. The ribbons remained tied to trees along the cul-de-sac neighborhood as well as on the lamp post on the front yard of the home owned by Christine and Ronald Holt, Brandon's parents.

Following the boy's death, the state's Division of Criminal Justice directed the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office to take over the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting because of the law enforcement background of members of the 4-year-old's family.

The investigation was conducted by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes, Crimes Against Children and Forensic Units.

The Asbury Park Press asked the Ocean County Jail for a photograph of the suspect, but it declined. An attempt to reach the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office for a picture of the suspect went unanswered. State law allows authorities' discretion in releasing suspect photos, but they often refuse to do so saying media publicity could affect their ability to select a jury.

Stephanie Loder, Asbury Park Press

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