Six-year-old shot after basketball rolls into North Carolina man’s yard

April 7, 2023  –A North Carolina man accused of shooting a six-year-old girl and her parents after a basketball rolled into his yard has been arrested in Florida.

Police say Robert Louis Singletary, 24, turned himself in to authorities in Tampa on Thursday evening after a two-day manhunt.

The girl and her mother were treated in hospital and discharged, but the father was seriously injured, police said.

Mr Singletary faces four counts of first-degree attempted murder.

Police will also charge him with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.

The suspect was previously known to police for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend with a sledgehammer in December.

Police in Gaston County first received a 911 call at 19:44 local time on Tuesday (11:44 GMT) about the shooting.

Media caption,

Watch: Witness describes the moment a gun was pulled

A neighbour told reporters that the shooting had unfolded after a basketball rolled into the suspect’s yard.

Local residents told US media that when the children went to retrieve their ball, the suspect shouted at them. A father of one of the children went to the suspect’s door and remonstrated with him.

  • They did something by accident. Then they were shot

Police said the suspect went inside his home and came out with a gun before he fired indiscriminately at neighbours. The father who had argued with Mr Singletary was not injured by the gunfire, said neighbours.

The girl was treated for bullet fragments to her cheek. Her mother suffered a grazing bullet wound to the elbow. Her father was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The six-year-old has since spoken out about the shooting in an interview with a local ABC news channel.

“The bullet came back and the bullet went in my cheek,” said the girl, who is not being named by the BBC because of her age.

She added that her father remained in hospital in Charlotte. He is being treated for a punctured lung and liver problems after he was shot in the back.

Jonathan Robertson, who lives in the Gaston County neighbourhood, said: “They were playing basketball, and a ball rolled into his yard. They went to go and get it. It was just crazy.

“We just never expected it in a million years. We never expected anybody would break a gun out amongst all those kids.”

Gaston County Police Chief Stephen Zill said on Wednesday, “This sort of violence will not stand.”

The shooting is the latest in a string of gun violence incidents across the US involving young Americans who are reported to have mistakenly approached the wrong person or home:

  • In Texas, 18-year-old cheerleader Payton Washington was shot and seriously injured on Tuesday after she mistakenly tried to enter the wrong vehicle in a parking lot near Austin, Texas
  • In New York state, 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis was shot and killed on Saturday after a friend drove their car down the wrong driveway
  • Last Thursday in Missouri, 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot in the head and arm when he rang the doorbell at the wrong address.

Can you legally shoot before asking questions?

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