Police arrest NC man who allegedly shot 6-year-old, parents and neighbor when basketball rolled into yard
The suspect turned himself in to police in Florida Thursday, authorities said.
By Peter Charalambous
A North Carolina man allegedly shot a 6-year-old girl, her parents and an additional neighbor after a basketball rolled into his yard.
Kinsley White, 6, shows reporters a wound left on her face, Thursday, April 20, 2023 in Gastonia, N.C. A North Carolina man shot and wounded a 6-year-old girl and her parents after children went to retrieve a basketball that had rolled into his yard, according to neighbors and the girl’s family — another in a string of recent shootings sparked by seemingly trivial reasons. (Kara Fohner/The Gaston Gazette via AP)
The suspect, Robert Louis Singletary, 24, turned himself in on Thursday to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, Florida, the Gaston County Police Department said.
The Gaston County Police Department received a 911 call at 7:44 p.m. on Tuesday about a local shooting. Investigators later determined that Singletary seriously injured one adult male and one juvenile female, and that a separate female was grazed by a bullet while a second adult male was shot.
Police identified the three adult victims as William James White, Ashley Hildebrand and Derrick Kenneth Prather, all from Gastonia. White suffered a gunshot wound and remains in serious condition, according to police. Hildebrand suffered a grazing gunshot wound, and Prather was shot but not hit, police said. The 6-year-old, whose name won’t be released, also suffered a gunshot wound, police said.
24-year-old Robert Louis Singletary was charged with multiple felony counts after allegedly firing at his neighbors.
Gaston County Police Department
In this booking photo, Robert Louis Singletary is shown.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Neighbors told ABC News’ Charlotte affiliate WSOC that the shooting began after a basketball rolled into Singletary’s yard from a group of local children playing basketball in the street. Singletary allegedly fired a gun at a neighbor before approaching a father and son — William and 6-year-old Kinsley White. Both were transported to a local area hospital for treatment.
“Why did you shoot my daddy and me? Why did you shoot a kid’s dad?” Kinsley asked in an emotional interview, stitches visible on her cheek from the bullet fragments that hit her.
Family members say William White tried to draw gunfire towards himself to protect his family as Singletary unloaded an entire magazine toward his neighbor. White was shot in the back in his own front yard, according to his partner Ashley Hilderbrand.
“He looked at my husband and my daughter and told them, ‘I’m going to kill you,'” Hilderbrand said.
Gaston County police have multiple warrants for Singletary’s arrest. He is charged with four counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Singletary is expected to appear in Florida court Friday regarding his extradition back to North Carolina, police said.
In December, Singletary was separately charged with assaulting his girlfriend with a mini sledgehammer, leading her to bleed profusely from the back of the head and forcing her inside an apartment for two hours.
“The victim further stated that Singletary told her that she could not leave until she had cleaned up all the evidence from the assault,” a press release from December read.
“I want to say to the people of Gaston County — this sort of violence will not stand,” Gaston County Police Department’s Chief, Stephen M. Zill said.
The North Carolina shooting follows a string of similar incidents where seemingly ordinary mistakes have led to serious consequences involving firearms. Over the last week, two cheerleaders in Texas were shot after entering the wrong car in a parking lot, a woman in New York was killed after entering the wrong driveway, and a 16-year-old in Missouri was shot after ringing the doorbell to the wrong home.