The shooting death of Brandon Holt, a first grade student in St. Joseph School, Toms River, and a member of St. Joseph Parish, has wrapped the community in grief and concern for all affected.
Brandon, 6, died at 5 p.m., April 9 in the trauma center of Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, where he was being treated after being shot April 8 by a 4-year-old playmate in what authorities are describing as a tragic accident.
The St. Joseph School website has posted a statement noting the profound sadness of the Catholic community of St. Joseph Parish and School as it mourned the death of Brandon, one of three children, who was in his second year at the school. The statement describes the child as “an exuberant, energetic and happy student, well-loved by those who knew him.” It went on to say, “His cheerful presence will be dearly missed by his classmates, friends and teachers.”
Expressing concern with the impact this has had on the school’s more than 600 students, and their faculty and parents, the statement reads, “We turn in our time of grief to the members of this school community, and to providing the support and assistance they need to cope with this loss.”
News of Brandon’s injury hit the school early April 9, at which time the school administration alerted the parent community and notified teachers and older students. As Brandon still clung to life, the fifth through eighth graders gathered in St. Joseph Church and were led by St. Joseph pastor, Father G. Scott Shaffer, in praying the Rosary.
A team of counselors was assembled by the school and made available to the students and faculty as they learned of Brandon’s death April 9. Counseling and bereavement ministry will continue to be provided, the school reported, “to work with all those affected.”
An emphasis on the need for prayer was expressed in the statement’s closing: “As members of a Christ-centered community, we rely on our faith as reason fails to make sense of the tragedy that took Brandon’s life. We join in prayer for Brandon, and in a very special way, for his family in this difficult time. And we ask that God gently carry and support all who have been affected by his death,” the statement concluded.[[In-content Ad]]