The parents of a boy from New Jersey who fatally shot Brandon Holt, 6, have been ordered by a judge to pay the Holt family $570,000, The New York Daily News is reporting.
Holt died a day after he was shot in Toms River in 2013. The boy who shot Brandon was just 4-years-old at the time. The father of the boy, Anthony Senatore, pleaded guilty to child endangerment.
According to sources, the two boys were playing “pretend shooting” outside the Senatore residence. The preschooler shot Brandon in the head from 15 yards away. Anthony Senatore said he was only 10 feet away when his son fired the deadly shot.
— Keith Wilson (@divisionbyzero) May 24, 2016
“When the gun went off, I turned around and realized what gun it had been. I immediately removed it from his hands and threw it into my garage up on my work bench. With that, I was going back to discipline him when my daughter came running around the side of the building and said, ‘Dad dad, Brandon was shot!'”
Senatore was sentenced in February 2015 to three years in prison. He was released on parole after spending nine months.
Before his sentencing, he had told a judge he deeply regretted what happened on that fateful day.
“The events of April 8, 2013, have left a permanent mark in the life of two families who could not have imagined such a horrific event could occur…the torments of these thoughts will occupy me throughout my existence on this earth.”
Senatore had removed the rifle from his gun locker when he heard a sound at the dead of night. He had wrapped the loaded gun in a towel and left it under his bed. He had forgotten that he left it there. Senatore kept multiple guns in the house he lived in with his wife and three children aged 4, 8, and 12. The guns included two Harrington & Richardsons and a Remington 12-guage. The judge placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Anthony Senatore for leaving the rifle under his bed for six months.
Anthony Senatore rejects plea deal over charges from shooting of 6-year-old Brandon Holt http://t.co/is0nohLkCC pic.twitter.com/HzdQPYEFGv
— Asbury Park Press (@AsburyParkPress) November 18, 2013
Brandon’s parents now have a 1-year old son. His mother, Christine, who runs an organization named “Brandon’s Elves,” supplies gifts during special holidays to kids in Ocean County social services in memory of her son. Christine, speaking to reporters outside the New Jersey Superior Court, said, ” I want everyone to know that when you do something like leaving guns unlocked in the home and other people can get them, other people can get hurt…children can get hurt…just lock up your guns.”
Holt burst into tears when she testified at the accidental death lawsuit against the Senatores. She recalled that she had told her son that she loved him dearly and kept rubbing his legs, assuring him that help was on the way. She said she did not think she could forgive Anthony Senatore for the pain and suffering he had caused her family.
In 2016, at least 95 children have picked up a firearm and shot either themselves or someone else accidentally. This is according to data obtained from Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control interest group financed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. The advocacy group collates shooting data from media reports. In 2015, it found out that there were 278 accidental shootings.
Another analysis from Everytown revealed that at least 100 children died from unintentional gun deaths between December 2012 and December 2013. According to a spokesman for the group, most of the deaths could have been prevented, if only the gun owners had stored their guns appropriately and denied children from accessing them.
[Image via Shutterstock/glebTv]