Neighbors Angry 4-year-old Had Gun Access in Fatal Accident

April 10, 2013 Updated: April 10, 2013

4-year-old shoots 6-year-old: A 4-year-old shot and killed his playmate, Brandon Holt, 6. Neighbors ask why a loaded gun was easily accessible.

Brandon Holt, 6, died Tuesday evening, a day after being shot by a 4-year-old in Toms River, N.J.

Prosecutor Joseph Coronato, said at a news conference on Tuesday that the boy got a .22-caliber rifle from his home. Holt was sitting in an all-terrain vehicle about 15 yards from the boy when the gun discharged accidentally.

The identity of the 4-year-old has not been released. A neighbor, Debi Coto, says the boy was upset and appeared to be trying to comprehend what had happened.

“I’m sad for the children involved and their families, but I’m angry with whoever owns that gun and allowed a little child to get hold of it. A 4-year-old can’t load a gun,” Coto said.

Another neighbor, Diane Mlenak, reflected on the accident in an interview with USA Today: “To know that it could have been any one of our children…”

Mlenak said you may love your parents and you may love your spouse, “but you don’t know love until you have a child.”

She described Holt: “Brandon was full of life, he was one of those kids that just ran around. I basically knew Brandon, not his family.”

An unnamed neighbor told USA Today: “I don’t get why there’s guns laying around the house. … That’s easy access.”

Coronato did not speculate at the news conference on how the boy got the gun and on whether any charges would be laid.

On April 6, a 4-year-old in Tennessee accidentally shot to death the wife of a sheriff’s deputy at a cookout.

Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Fanning was showing someone his gun when the boy grabbed it. It discharged and killed Josephine Fanning, 48.

Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan told USA Today: “[Fanning] did not normally have small kids at his house, and his guns were locked prior to coming out. I don’t want the perception that guns were everywhere.”

On March 2, the 3-year-old son of Michigan Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Easter accidentally shot and killed himself with a weapon at home; the weapon was not his father’s service weapon.

Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand told Michigan publication Mlive, “This just serves as a reminder that we need to be vigilant when it comes to keeping our children safe.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.