Dad told police he accidentally shot 11-year-old daughter who startled him

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Sean Stover, neighbor, who lives three houses up and across the street from home of the girl who was shot on Monday, reacts to the news of the 11-year-old's death. Dessislava Yankova



Timothy Batts, 29, of Hendersonville, Tenn., was charged Aug. 9, 2016, in connection with the shooting death of his 11-year-old daughter, Timea Lashay Batts, after she came home from her first day of middle school.(Photo: Sumner County (Tenn.) Sheriff's Office)


HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>—
A Hendersonville father and convicted felon told police he accidentally shot and killed his 11-year-old daughter Monday afternoon “when she yelled<span style="color: Red;">*</span>and scared him,” Sumner County court documents reveal.
Timothy Batts, 29, told police he was asleep in his home but woke up from a sound and retrieved a gun from under his dresser. He then fired a shot at Timea Batts “when she yelled and scared him,” shooting the girl in the torso, according to his arrest affidavit released Tuesday by<span style="color: Red;">*</span>police.
Originally, Batts told detectives his daughter woke him up and told him she<span style="color: Red;">*</span>had been shot after she got off the school bus.
A search of the home<span style="color: Red;">*</span>revealed the shooting took place inside,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>and the weapon used had been removed from the residence, making Batts’ first statements “not truthful,” police said.
“The defendant came to the police department later and stated he wanted to tell the truth about what happened, and admitted the story he previously told was not the truth,” the affidavit said. “The defendant removed the gun from the scene and stated the gun was now in Nashville.”
Batts is charged with reckless homicide, tampering with evidence, false reporting and possessing a firearm as a felon. He was booked into the Sumner County Jail after midnight Monday on $1 million bond, said Detective Sgt. Jim Vaughn with Hendersonville Police.
At 3:30 p.m. Monday,<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Timea Lashay Batts<span style="color: Red;">*</span>had just finished her first day in sixth grade at Knox Doss Middle School at Drakes Creek.
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After the shooting, Batts<span style="color: Red;">*</span>drove Timea from their<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Shady View Drive home<span style="color: Red;">*</span>to Hendersonville Medical Center, and from there she was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she died of her injuries within two hours, Vaughn said.
Batts is set to appear in Sumner County General Session Court on Aug. 24.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>He<span style="color: Red;">*</span>already had a history<span style="color: Red;">*</span>of drug and gun charges with Metro Police.
“From all accounts she was a sweet little girl — very well-liked by her teachers and her peers.”
Jeremy Johnson, Sumner County Schools
Reckless homicides are not common locally.
“Reckless homicide can involve the use of any weapon in the commission of death that’s not intentional but not incidental and could have been prevented,” Vaughn said.
“We really don’t know what led to the incident," Vaughn said. "There were a series of circumstances. Circumstances could have been prevented if he was not in possession of a firearm. This guy was not even supposed to be in possession of a firearm.”
She had just completed her first day of sixth grade at Knox Doss and spent the previous two years<span style="color: Red;">*</span>at Gene Brown Elementary.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Grief counselors were available Tuesday for students and staff at both schools.
“From all accounts she was a sweet little girl — very well-liked by her teachers and her peers,” said Jeremy Johnson, a spokesman for Sumner County Schools. “This is something that has hit both school communities really hard.”
Several neighbors said Timea was a cheerleader and a softball player, who often played catch in the family's front yard.<span style="color: Red;">*</span>They described the family as good people and the children as well mannered and sweet.
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Justin Mathes, 17, who rode the bus after Timea, said he was shocked.
“She was not ready to leave this earth," said<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Mathes, who attends Beech High School here. "She hasn’t experienced high school or gotten her first car. There was so much more for her to experience.”
Neighbor Sean Stover described the area as populated mostly by families with children and<span style="color: Red;">*</span>said Timea's parents have at least two children.
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"I hope all the details come out and the family is OK," he said. "We are here to help."
Michael Barnes lives next door to the Battses and said his 10-year-old son often played with the boy who lives<span style="color: Red;">*</span>in the Batts' home.
“I saw nothing that would suggest this would happen. It’s just sad,” Barnes said.
Contributing: Tena Lee, The Tennessean. Follow<span style="color: Red;">*</span>Dessislava Yankova and Ariana Sawyer on Twitter:<span style="color: Red;">*</span>@desspor<span style="color: Red;">*</span>and<span style="color: Red;">*</span>@a_maia_sawyer
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