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Father of 4-year-old N.J. boy who shot friend is charged

By David Jones

NEWARK (Reuters) - Police in New Jersey have arrested the father of a 4-year-old boy who fatally shot a 6-year-old friend while playing with one of the father's guns, which had been left unsecured in a bedroom.

The Atlantic City prosecutor's office charged 33-year-old Anthony Senatore with six counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one disorderly persons charge for allowing minors access to a loaded firearm.

The 4-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, accidentally shot his friend in the head on April 8 while playing with a .22-caliber rifle outside Senatore's home in Toms River, New Jersey.

The friend, Brandon Holt, was pronounced dead at Jersey Shore Medical Center the following day.

Senatore was arrested on Monday in Bayville, New Jersey.

Authorities found four other weapons unsecured in the house, including a Stevens 12-gauge shotgun, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun and two Harrington & Richardson shotguns, according to prosecutors. The weapons were also accessible to Senatore's other children, ages 8 and 12, prosecutors said.

New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa assigned the case to the Atlantic Country prosecutor's office, rather than to neighboring Ocean County where the shooting occurred. Several members of the Senatore family work or have worked for the Ocean County sheriff and prosecutor's offices, an Ocean County official said.

Senatore has been released on $100,000 bail.

(Editing by Scott Malone and John Wallace)