HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A father charged with reckless homicide after his 11-year-old daughter was shot and killed at their Hendersonville, Tennessee home Monday afternoon reportedly admitted to police he fired the weapon after being startled by the girl.
Timothy Batts initially told police his daughter Timea woke him up just before 4 p.m. and said she had been shot after getting off the school bus at their home on Shady View Drive.
Batts reportedly drove his daughter to TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center before she was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Timea, a sixth grader at Knox Doss Middle School, died less than two hours later.
During the course of their investigation, police determined that the girl was actually shot inside the Hendersonville home.
According to affidavits obtained by News 2, her father later went to the police station and said he wanted to “tell the truth” about what happened.
The report states that Batts told officers he accidentally shot Timea after he was awoken to a sound in the home. He, according to the report, got a gun from under the dresser and fired a shot at the girl when she yelled and scared him.
Police said Batts told them he removed the gun from the scene and that it was now in Nashville.
He was ultimately charged with reckless homicide late Monday night. He also faces charges of tampering with evidence, false reporting and felon in possession of a firearm.
The 29-year-old is being held at the Sumner County jail on a $1 million bond and he is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 24.
News 2 learned Batts has a violent criminal history. In 2005, he was arrested on felony drug charges. Affidavits indicate he was in a car with 115 ecstasy pills and four bags of crack cocaine.
In February 2012, he was charged with attempted murder after he allegedly shot another driver stopped at an intersection in Metro Center. Metro police say that drier had shot Batts earlier outside a Jefferson Street barber shop.
The Department of Children’s Services confirms they are also investigating the family. The department also said they have investigated the family before.
School district, neighbors respond to Timea’s tragic death
Sumner County Schools said Timea was “a bright and kind girl who was well loved by her classmates and teachers.” The district’s statement continued:
It is our understanding from communicating with authorities that today’s tragic event in Hendersonville was not school related. The incident did not occur on the bus or at the bus stop. We have no reason to believe that there is any threat to student safety on any of our school campuses due to this tragic event.
Grief counselors will be available for students and staff at the school tomorrow.
The Knox Doss Middle School at Drakes Creek campus will be closed to media for the remainder of the week out of respect for our students, faculty and staff as they go through the grieving process.”
Jerrie Lockridge lives close to the Batts family and told News 2 their children went to school together. Timea was a sixth grader, and Lockridge’s daughter a seventh grader.
“They had just spoken on the bus. They wave at each other, told each other ‘bye.’ There’s maybe five seconds in difference from bus stops,” she told News 2.
Lockridge said her daughter thought she was lying when she told her what happened.
“It just, you could tell it hurt,” she said.
The mother described Timothy Batts and his wife as good parents—fun-loving and generous.
She said she did not know he had a weapon.
“Their kids didn’t want or need for anything. They were great parents from what I knew,” Lockridge explained.
Now, her family is grieving, remembering the 11-year-old who was good at gymnastics and loved having perfect manicures.
“Her nails was, like, the main thing. We always knew when she came down—‘Mom, I wat to go get my nails done.’ She would look at Timea’s nails, and we would go get her nails done,” Lockridge recalled.
The mother said the young girl was amazing, beautiful, and fun, and always upbeat.