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Girl, 6, shot after basketball rolls into neighbor’s yard

GASTONIA, N.C. (WJZY) — A manhunt is underway in North Carolina for a man accused of shooting his neighbors, one of whom is a 6-year-old girl.

Robert Louis Singletary, 24, is believed to be responsible for shooting and injuring several people around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Gaston County Police Department. He should be considered “armed and dangerous,” the department said.

(Photo courtesy of the White family)

The mother of the 6-year-old victim told NewsNation affiliate WJZY that the suspect started shooting after a child walked into his yard to retrieve a basketball that a group of kids had been playing with nearby.

“I heard the ‘pow, pow, pow, pow,’ and I thought it was fireworks,” said Ashley Hilderbrand, the mother of a shooting victim. “Then I heard the ‘pow, pow, pow,’ and everybody started yelling, ‘Get in the house!'”

Hilderbrand’s daughter Kinsley White was struck in the cheek, and White’s father William was shot multiple times.

“And when [William] went to the ground, the guy continued to shoot,” Hilderbrand said. “He didn’t care who he shot, who he killed.”

Authorities said the adult victim was rushed to the CaroMont Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. The other shooting victims were later taken to hospitals in Charlotte for further treatment.

“The juvenile that was shot, as well as the second adult that was grazed by a bullet, have been treated and released,” Gaston County Police Chief Stephen M. Zill said Wednesday.

Kinsley White spoke with WJZY after her release from the hospital.

“He came out with a gun, he started shooting,” she said. “Hope my daddy is okay.”

Gaston County Police have obtained warrants on Singletary. He’s facing several charges: four counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, and a count of possession of a firearm by a felon.

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police helicopter was searching the area in what is considered to be an “extensive search.” Authorities were asking neighbors to stay indoors.

Suspect Robert Singletary is seen in an image released by the Gaston County Police Department. (GCPD)

“I want to say to the people of Gaston County — this sort of violence will not stand,” Chief Zill said.

Singletary is described as a 6-foot-2 man with brown eyes and black hair, weighing 223 pounds.

In December, Gastonia Police charged Singletary in the brutal assault of his 21-year-old girlfriend with a mini sledgehammer. They also said Singletary kept the victim inside his apartment and did not allow her to leave for over two hours. At that time, the man faced charges of assault with intent to inflict serious injury, kidnapping, and communicating threats. He was in the Gaston County jail on a $250,000 bond.

“My number one priority as chief is to make sure each and every one of our citizens are safe,” Zill continued. “Every person in every part of our county deserves that same opportunity, and it is our priority to make that a reality.”

The Gaston County Police had not yet disclosed whether the suspect had been located as of Thursday morning. Anyone with further information is asked to contact Det. J. Brienza at 704-866-3320 or Crimestoppers at 704-861-8000. A Crimestoppers reward of up to $1,000 is available for information pertinent to the investigation.