NBC10.com - Ted Greenberg
Police are investigating an incident in which they say a 6-year-old boy was shot by a 4-year-old. The boy later died from his injuries. NBC10's Ted Greenberg has the details.
Daniel Watkins is still in a state of disbelief. His 6-year-old nephew, Brandon Holt, is dead after he was shot in the head by a 4-year-old boy.
"This is something that shouldn't have happened," said Watkins. "It's horrible."
Investigators say Brandon was playing with his 4-year-old neighbor and several other children along McCormick Drive in Toms River Monday Night around 6:45 p.m.
The 4-year-old then went inside his home and came back out with a loaded .22-caliber rifle. The gun then went off and Holt was struck in the head while he was sitting on a golf cart about 15 yards away. The bullet went through the back of his head and became lodged in his brain.
He was flown to the Jersey Shore Medical Center where doctors worked to keep the brain swelling down. On Tuesday, shortly before 7 p.m., the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office announced that he died from his injuries.
Police say it's not clear if the 4-year-old pulled the trigger or if the rifle accidentally discharged. The parents of the 4-year-old were home at the time of the incident. Investigators say they're trying to find out where the gun was, how the 4-year-old boy got his hands on it and if the weapon was legally owned in the first place.
"Once we've ascertained all of the facts then we'll make a determination as to where this investigation is going to go," said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato.
Debi Coto, a neighbor of the victim, says the gun used in the shooting wasn't the only one that police took away from the home.
"My sister said they had to have at least ten guns coming out of the house," said Coto.
NBC New York confirmed through multiple law enforcement sources that the parents of the alleged 4-year-old shooter named their children after hunting terms.
No charges have yet been filed. The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office confirms it is taking over the investigation. That’s because of a relationship issue with a former employee of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the family of the 4-year-old, according to a source.