Tennessee father tells police he accidentally shot and killed daughter after she scared him

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HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee father accused of accidentally shooting and killing his daughter at their Hendersonville home this week thought the girl was an intruder.

Timothy Batts fatally shot his daughter, 11-year-old Timea Batts, Monday when she came home from school. Batts said she’d returned earlier than expected and scared him, reports the Tennessean.

He originally told investigators that his daughter had gotten off the bus and told him she’d been shot. Timea, who’d just completed her first day of sixth grade, died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Batts was working two jobs. He’d taken off work early Monday so he’d be there when Timea came home in the afternoon. He told investigators he was asleep at home when a strange sound woke him up; he got a gun from his dresser and then shot his daughter “when she yelled and scared him,” according to court documents.

Batts initially told police she’d been shot after getting off the school bus, but a search showed the shooting happened in the home. Batts later came to the police department and told investigators he wanted to tell them what really happened. He admitting lying about the circumstances surrounding the shooting and told them the truth.

Batts is charged with reckless homicide, tampering with evidence, false reporting and possessing a firearm as a felon.

Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday night for a vigil in Timea’s memory. Strangers and neighbors have made a memorial outside the family’s home with balloons, cards and stuffed animals. The community will hold a yard sale over the weekend to help the family with funeral expenses.