Dad Arrested After 6-Year-Old Neighbor's Death Is Getting Off Easy

Heartbreaking 9

cemetery angelWhen a 6-year-old is shot by a 4-year-old, what do you do? Do you haul the 4-year-old off to jail? Do you just let it slide, write it off as a terrible accident? Or do you try to find some middle ground? That's what cops in New Jersey are trying to do right now. They've arrested the father of the 4-year-old who shot neighbor and buddy Brandon Holt last month.

But no one is charging Anthony Senatore with Brandon's death.

The 33-year-old, who allegedly owned the gun used by his 4-year-old son, instead faces six counts of endangering the welfare of children and a disorderly person's offense for enabling access by minors to a loaded firearm.

Technically that's what was done here. Senatore didn't pull the trigger on the gun that killed little Brandon. But only technically.

Cops say his 4-year-old son -- who hasn't been named because of his age -- was playing with Holt in the yard on April 8. He went inside and came back with a loaded .22-caliber rifle he'd allegedly found in his dad's bedroom. When police arrived, they say they also found four more firearms in the bedroom, all easily accessible to Senatore's three kids.

Brandon Holt died.

And all that we get are some charges for endangering the welfare of children?

What about manslaughter?

What about some justice for this little boy?

The disregard for safety alleged in this case makes a deep-seated fear in my stomach flare up.

I live in the country where guns are a part of life. I've had long discussions with my child about proper use of guns and safety.

But when she goes to another child's house, what happens is out of my control. If another parent is careless with their guns, the risk to my child is great.

My fear isn't of guns but of irresponsible gun owners.

According to the statistics, half of gun-owning households do not lock up their guns. That includes 40 percent of households with kids under age 18.

With statistics like that, it's no wonder guns still kill twice as many children and young people than cancer, five times as many than heart disease, and 15 times more than infection (this according to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine in case you're wondering).

Could a dad like Anthony Senatore foresee the tragedy that occurred on April 8? I don't see why he didn't.

As the saying so popular with gun proponents goes, "guns don't kill people, people kill people." It's true. People kill people ... when they have access to a gun that they can use to do so. Put a loaded gun where a child can easily access it, and what do you think will happen? Four-year-olds simply do not have the capacity to recognize the consequences of their actions. That's why we don't leave them alone with a hot pot on the stove ... never mind a loaded .22.

He may not have shot this boy, but when you consider the facts, it certainly sounds like this dad was responsible.

So why isn't he being charged with the child's death?

Do you think the prosecution is going far enough in this case? Could this father have foreseen this tragedy?


Image via AdamSelwood/Flickr

crime, death, guns


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

LostS... LostSoul88

I think what the father is being charged with is great! It's about time parents start getting charged for being stupid. I don't think charging him with manslaughter would be right.

Serab... Serabelle

The charges are fitting. I'm big on gun rights, but only for people who are responsible. My guns are locked in a fire proof vault that needs key and 8 digit password. Ammo is stored in another fire proof case that is kept in a seperate room. Even if someone somehow got into the vault, they wouldn't know where to find the ammo, because it's hidden. We have small children in my family and don't take any chances. All of the guns are legally owned, bought from legal dealers. I just wish more.people were as responsible, maybe this little one would still be around. Negligent gun owners should he held responsible.

Eddie... EddiesMama83

I think he should be charged with manslaughter. Don't get me wrong, I'm okay with guns and gun rights, however as a parent YOU are responsible protecting your kids. He shouldn't have left his gun out or anywhere as kid can easily access it. Next, you need to teach your kids that they are not allowed to touch or play with a gun as it's a very dangerous weapon. It blows my mind how irresponsbible some parents are. How would this guy feel if one of his kids killed themselves with a gun? 

nonmember avatar Pam

I expect a wrongful death suit levied against the father of the shooter. His son has to live with knowing he killed another child for the rest of his life and the father will be in a financial nightmare filled with depositions and lawyers for years. I feel for the victims family and the child who shot the gun but the dad made his bed, he's got to lie in it.

Mommi... MommietoJB

I wonder how this 4 year old managed to go inside get the gun, then walk outside with this gun and shoot his friend without blowing off his own head. The father should be charged with manslaughter and neglect, he left the guns accessible and was not watching his young child.


I think it should be harsher than manslaughter.How do you leave weapons out like that for a child to get their hands on it?You can't blame the child,he might have thought it was a toy.I can't even imagine what that child saw ;his friend all bloodied...I hope he forgets.

Jennifer Bissett

What the father should face legally is a deep and interesting debate. What I find odd that wasn't mentioned in this article or in any comments but one so far is what the poor 4 year old must be going through. He is old enough to somewhat comprehend what he saw when he shot his friend. Of course my heart goes out to the family that lost their son and I hope, however it works out with the court system and law enforcement, that they get the justice they deserve to get through this tragedy. But if the father of the "shooter" was already so irresponsible and ignorant, I certainly hope somewhere as this unfolds that the proper authorities see to getting that little boy the counseling and explainations and support he needs. Otherwise he will be as lost as the poor little boy that died that day.

Rachel Marie Gray

ok got a ?: what law is there, that prevent's crime?

Mary Breitrick

its about time parents are being charged for there children but charging him man slaughter thats unnnessary 

1-9 of 9 comments