GASTONIA, N.C. (WJZY) – A bouncing basketball at the intersection of April Drive and Grier Street is a welcome sound on Fridays in Gastonia, North Carolina. But things have been quiet for the last two days after a gunman opened fire on his neighbors.
“He just started shooting,” said William White from his hospital bed.
On Tuesday night just after 7:30 p.m., police say 24-year-old Robert Singletary opened fire after a basketball rolled into the yard of the home he was living in. White’s 6-year-old daughter was hit with a bullet fragment in the cheek, and his wife was grazed.
White too was shot, and later rushed to the hospital in serious condition.
Speaking exclusively with News 2’s sister station, WJZY, from the hospital, White, now in stable condition, said he immediately ran toward his daughter Kinsley when he heard the gunfire.
“I said, ‘Kinsley come on, Kinsley come on,’” said White, remembering Kinsley was on a swing set at the time. “‘Get up here baby, come on, get in the house.'”
Witnesses said Singletary kept firing the gun at White’s family and their neighbors.
“He would have killed us all that day if he had enough bullets,” said Ashley Hilderbrand, White’s wife.
Hilderbrand was grazed by gunfire. Right beside her, William White and their 6-year-old daughter were shot as well.
“I got halfway up the Dodge truck and that’s when he shot. BOOM,” White said. “Luckily, I got in front of my daughter, because to me, that’s what he was aiming at. I got in front of her, the bullet hit me, went through me, and the bullet fragment came out and hit my daughter in the cheek.”
Kinsley White was treated and released. For two days, local and national law enforcement searched for Singletary. He eventually turned himself in to authorities Thursday afternoon in Tampa, Florida.
“I come running out the door jumping for joy hollering and screaming,” said Kinsley’s grandmother Carolyn Hilderbrand. “He turned himself in.”
White’s other daughter Chloe texted her father. “They got him daddy,” she wrote.
White is thankful the suspect is in custody.
“Thank God, my kids can rest, my family can sleep in peace.”
The arrest of the shooter means Kinsley can also come home from staying with other family members. Her mom was trying to protect her by having her stay with a cousin.
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“To me, he would have come back and killed us all,” Hilderbrand worried.
Kinsley went right back to the swings after being treated and released from the hospital. And when she learned the man who shot at her family had been arrested, she was “happy,” she said.
“It’s like a big elephant lifted off my chest,” her mother added.
Now, the family is just waiting for one more person to return home.
“That’s my life,” said White. “I got four babies dude, and that’s my life.”