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Shot child dies of injuries

The 6-year-old Toms River boy was accidentally shot in the head Monday by a 4-year-old playmate with a .22-caliber rifle.

TOMS RIVER, N.J. - A 6-year-old South Jersey boy who was accidentally shot in the head by a 4-year-old playmate died of his wounds Tuesday.

Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, confirmed the death of Brandon Holt. Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said Brandon was pronounced dead at 5 p.m., nearly 24 hours after the shooting occurred in a neighborhood that residents described as "very quiet." He declined to provide further details.

The two boys were playing outside Monday night when the 4-year-old boy got a .22-caliber rifle from his Toms River home and it accidentally discharged, authorities said. The children were about 15 yards apart at the time. The 4-year-old was not injured.

No criminal charges have been filed, but authorities are investigating.

The younger child's mother called 911 to report the shooting, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said earlier Tuesday.

Coronato would not say who owned the gun or speculate on how the 4-year-old got it.

Ronald Holt told the Asbury Park Press and Star-Ledger newspapers that Brandon was the youngest of his three children. Reached by the Associated Press, he declined to comment.

One neighbor in the usually quiet residential community said the two boys' families had not lived in the neighborhood long and she did not know them well.

"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," said Debi Coto, who lives a few doors down. "I had just been telling my sister how nice it is to see kids playing together and enjoying themselves, and then this happens," she said.

Coto said the 4-year-old's mother seemed very upset and appeared to be trying to determine what had happened.

The shooting came just days after a 4-year-old boy in Tennessee grabbed a loaded gun at a family cookout and accidentally shot to death the wife of a sheriff's deputy, and amid debate over gun control laws in the wake of December's Connecticut school massacre.