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Father of child shooter facing endangerment charges

The father of a New Jersey boy who shot his 6-year-old neighbor in Toms River in April is facing felony charges in connection with the incident. The man's 4-year-old son shot and killed the victim in a local backyard. Authorities report that the father is facing multiple counts of child endangerment. He has been released from the Ocean County Jail after posting $100,000 bail.

Official reports show that the 33-year-old man was arrested on May 13. He was accused of possessing multiple weapons that were unsecured and accessible to kids, according to area prosecutors. The man is formally facing five counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of children. In addition, he is subject to a single third-degree charge of endangering the welfare of a child. Finally, the man has been charged with a disorderly persons offense because the children were able to access the loaded gun.

The man's three children, all under the age of 13, were able to access at least five weapons and associated ammunition. Authorities say the youngest child killed the first-grade victim while the kids were pretending to shoot each other in the yard. The young boy ran into his house and returned with a .22-caliber rifle, proceeding to shoot the victim in the head. That child died shortly after the April 8 attack.

Just hours later, officers retrieved several weapons from the home of the 4-year-old. The boy's father possessed several shotguns in addition to the rifle; all of those guns were easily accessible by the children in the home. State regulations do not mandate registration for rifles, though owners face a disorderly persons charge if they do not lock up the gun or install trigger inhibitors to prevent firing by kids younger than 16 in the household.

This horrific accident is certainly unfortunate but the defendant is not necessarily guilty of the charges before him. The man should consider seeking assistance from a criminal defense attorney who can help him understand more about his legal options. If you are facing a felony weapons charge, your attorney can educate you about your rights and responsibilities throughout the entire criminal process.

Source:  www.nj.com, "Father of Toms River child who fatally shot 6-year-old charged with endangerment" Tomas Dinges, May. 13, 2013

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