The lawsuit brought by Brandon Holt's family accuses Anthony and Melissa Senatore, of Toms River, of recklessness that led to the child's death, The Asbury Park Press reported. They seek undisclosed damages in the lawsuit, which was filed Friday in state Superior Court in Ocean County.
"Given Brandon's horrific death, his suffering before he passed, and his extreme young age, not to mention the claims of both parents for their own emotional suffering, the case has a value well into seven figures," Kevin Parsons, the Holt family's attorney, told the newspaper. "Clearly, the Holts would rather turn back time and have their son back, but sadly that's not possible."
Brandon's family and the Senatores' attorney didn't return messages seeking comment.
Brandon was killed April 8 while playing "pretend shooting" with the Senatores' 4-year-old son in the neighborhood where both families lived. Authorities have said the younger boy got a loaded .22-caliber rifle from his home and fired a shot that hit Brandon in the head.
Anthony Senatore was charged with child endangerment and failing to secure weapons after authorities also found four shotguns close to ammunition and accessible to Senatore's three children. His other children are 12 and 8 years old.
He is free on $100,000 bail and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted on the charges.
Senatore's lawyer, Robert Ebberup, said last month in a statement that the Senatores "are deeply sorrowed" over Holt's death.
"Outside of the Holt family, no other person or family or family grieves more over the loss of Brandon," the statement said. "There is not a one day that passes where my client does not feel the pain and sorrow over the loss of such a wonderful child."
Information from: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, http://www.app.com