GASTONIA, N.C (AP) — As the bullet pierced his lung and liver, the only thing Jamie White could think about was getting his 6-year-old daughter to safety. A neighbor had opened fire after children went to retrieve a basketball from his yard.
“I was worried about my babies,” White told the Gaston Gazette. “I was already hit. I was losing breath. I was on fire. I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it.”
Recovering at home Monday, White says every movement hurts — but he feels lucky he and his family are alive. His wife was also wounded and his daughter was hit by bullet fragments that lodged in her cheek.
The neighbor has since been arrested. The violence was the latest in a string of recent shootings sparked by seemingly trivial circumstances.
It seemed like a normal spring evening before the shootings. White, a supervisor at a chemical cleaning company, was grilling and his daughter was playing with other children down the street. They live near Gastonia, a city of roughly 80,000 people west of Charlotte.
But a basketball rolled into Robert Louis Singletary’s yard. He confronted other neighbors about it, and it seemed like a normal argument, White said. Then Singletary walked into his house to get a revolver.
“He comes back out the door running, firing at that man and his kids,” White said. “At that point, I took off. My youngin’ was down the road too. My little girl and about 10, 12 other kids were down there. They were all stunned.”
White said he told Singletary to stop shooting because of the kids.
Singletary replied: “I’m going to shoot your a–,” and pointed the revolver at White and his girl Kinsley.
“My daughter’s right in front of me. I look and see, and he’s pointing straight at my daughter,” White said. “And I just run towards my daughter … and that’s when he got me.”
Singletary had been out on bond in a December attack in which authorities say he assaulted a woman with a hammer.
“None of this would have happened if the judicial system would have done their job,” White said.
Singletary fled the scene after the shootings. He was arrested two days later in Florida. He’s charged with attempted first-degree murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and a gun charge.
Singletary’s grandmother, Brita Betsy, told WSOC-TV that the shooting was inexcusable, but that another neighbor threatened to shoot Singletary’s home during the ordeal. She said Singletary also struggles with anxiety.
“My grandson suffers from PTSD. He was shot at 15,” she said.