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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Andrea Blanco

North Carolina man arrested for shooting six-year-old over a basketball has prior arrest for sledgehammer assault


A North Carolina man accused of shooting a little girl and her parents was previously arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.

Robert Singletary, 24, has been charged for allegedly opening fire on six-year-old Kinsley White and her father William White when children went to retrieve a basketball that had rolled into Mr Singletary’s yard. Kinsley’s mother Ashley Hilderbrand was also grazed by a bullet during the 18 April shooting, according to the Gaston County Police Department.

Mr Singletary was apprehended by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, Florida, on Thursday. He waived extradition during a brief court appearance on Friday morning and is expected to be taken back to North Carolina, where he is facing four counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

It has since emerged that Mr Singletary was out on bond for allegedly assaulting his romantic partner with a sledgehammer in December, the New York Post reported. The 21-year-old victim, who has not been identified because she is a victim of domestic violence, told authorities in the city of Gastonia that she bled profusely after the attack.

Mr Singletary allegedly forced her to clean evidence of the attack and didn’t allow her to leave his apartment for two hours. When she was eventually able to escape, she drove herself to the hospital and alerted law enforcement.

Mr Singletary was arrested on 7 December, five days after the incident, and charged with intent to inflict serious injury, kidnapping, and communicating threats. He was released on a $250,000 secured bond, according to the Post.

Back in 2016, Mr Singletary was also charged with intent to kill or inflict serious injury. He served three years in prison for those offences.

Mr Singletary reportedly fled after the Tuesday night shootings near Gastonia, a city of roughly 80,000 people west of Charlotte.

Robert Singletary (City of Gastonia Police Department)

Authorities have not commented on what led to the shooting, but the victims have claimed the attack happened after some children tried to recover a basketball that had rolled into Mr Singletary’s yard.

“We don’t even know the man,” Kinsley, who needed stitches for bullet fragments to the cheek, told WSOC-TV. “Why did you shoot my daddy and me? Why did you shoot a kid’s dad?”

Her mother also told the station that the suspect had threatened their lives and that her husband tried to position himself in front of Kinsley to protect her. As of Thursday, Mr White remained in serious condition at a Charlotte hospital.

“He looked at my husband and my daughter and told them, ‘I’m going to kill you,’” Ms Hilderbrand said.

Their neighbour, Jonathan Robertson, told the Associated Press that Mr Singletary had yelled at the children on several occasions since moving to the area. Mr Roberston said the alleged shooter came out of his home with a gun and began shooting as parents frantically tried to get their kids to safety.

Authorities say Mr Singletary also shot at another man, identified as, Derrick Kenneth, but missed.

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