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Suspect in custody after neighbors said he shot North Carolina man and 6-year-old over basketball

Robert Louis Singletary, 24, surrendered in Florida after a manhunt that began Tuesday night in North Carolina, officials said.
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A North Carolina man accused of shooting a man and his 6-year-old daughter was in custody Thursday in a case neighbors say began when a basketball rolled into the suspect’s yard.

Robert Louis Singletary, 24, turned himself in Tampa, Florida, after a manhunt that began Tuesday night, officials in Gaston County, North Carolina, said.

Singletary will appear in court in Florida on Friday for a hearing involving extradition to North Carolina, Gaston County police said in a statement.

Authorities were still investigating the shooting, which happened shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday outside a home in Gastonia, west of Charlotte, police said.

County police have not said what motivated the shooting, and have not confirmed reports that it was over a basketball, citing an ongoing investigation.

Singletary faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm, county police said Wednesday.

The 6-year-old girl had a bullet fragment in her cheek and was released from the hospital, her mother, Ashley Hilderbrand, told NBC affiliate WCNC of Charlotte. Hilderbrand was grazed by a bullet, while her husband remains hospitalized. Police said that he is hospitalized in serious condition in Charlotte.

"It was very scary," Hilderbrand said. "My daughter actually got to come home last night. She just had a bullet fragment in her cheek. Still, scary, but my husband, he’s still in the hospital."

Neighbors told WCNC that children were playing outside when a basketball rolled into Singletary’s yard.

Hailey Martin, 17, said in a phone call Thursday that Singletary had been staying at the home for less than a month and would complain about toys and balls being on his property. The teenager, who was outside when shots rang out, said she believes the shooting was sparked by a ball bouncing into his yard.

"It’s sad to see little kids scatter, running for their lives," she said.

"This neighborhood has always been peaceful, quiet," she added. "There’s always kids running around. We don’t care if the balls get in the yards, because either the kids or the parents will come bring the toys back."

Another neighbor, Jonathan Robertson, told WCNC that he saw Singletary come out of the home shooting.

"I was hollering at everybody to get down and get inside," he said.

Adam Gaub, the communications director for Gaston County, said at a news conference Wednesday that additional charges could be filed because bullets went into a nearby home.

A fourth person was shot at but was not hit during the incident, police said.

The shooting follows three similar incidents involving gun violence after apparently harmless missteps.

Two Texas cheerleaders were shot this week after one of them mistakenly got into the wrong vehicle. In New York, a woman was fatally shot after she and some friends pulled into the driveway of a home they thought belonged to another friend, and in Missouri a teenager was shot and injured after he rang the wrong doorbell while trying to pick up his younger brothers.