A 10-year-old Florida boy was shot by a frightened homeowner after convincing his father to take him on a “drive-by” using paintballs, reports said Wednesday.
The boy repeatedly asked his father, 26-year-old Michael Williams, to take him on a “drive-by shooting” using paintball guns, and late Sunday Williams agreed. As he drove his son by a home, the boy fired several paintball rounds into a crowd standing in the front yard of a home in Opa-Locka, according to the Miami Herald.
Police said there were other boys in the van firing at the crowd as well, but reports did not say how many.
Homeowner Gregory Barns believed that the paintball guns were actual firearms and that “he and his family were under attack,” which led him to draw his real firearm and shoot back, according to police.
They added that the boy was then run over by his father’s vehicle after he was struck and lost his balance.
Police have since charged Williams with child neglect with great bodily harm, accusing him of acting “recklessly by agreeing to conduct a drive-by paintball shooting,” according to their report, the Herald noted.
The boy is expected to make a full recovery, reports said.
In the ensuing chaos, Williams retrieved his son, put him in his van, and then drove home where the boy’s mother called 911, according to police.
“I guess the man didn’t see what type of gun it was and he just shot him,” one of the children in the group told WSVN.
Neighbors told the station that they heard that the paintball guns were fired from multiple people inside the van.
“The guy riding around with his kids in the car with their ski masks and hoodies on, and they were apparently shooting at people,” neighbor Maurice Adams said.
But Williams disagreed with that, according to the outlet.
“No, the car came out like pulling up as he was shooting. There was no car, like, my son was already on the ground,” said Williams. “He was on the ground.”
Adams sounded incredulous that a father would participate in such an activity with his son.
“We never had this as kids, never,” he said. “We played baseball with tennis balls in the street. We never had to worry about anything like this. This is crazy.”
The Herald added that it isn’t clear whether Williams has retained an attorney who could issue statements on his behalf. And as of Tuesday, the case had yet to be posted online. However, the paper added, Williams was not listed as still being in custody at the Miami-Dade County jail.
The boy’s shooting came amid additional gun violence in Miami over the Memorial Day weekend that left three dead and more than 30 injured. One of the attacks involved a disciple of Grammy-nominated rapper DaBaby.
“We must get these killers off the streets, we can only do it with your help,” said Democratic Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Monday in response to the shootings. “We must break this cycle of violence.”
Local officials also called for immediate action to address rising gun violence, including a $90 million investment spread over 19 years to mentor at-risk teens and provide them with job training.
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