A New Hampshire man faced a judge Monday after police say he fired into the ceiling of his Newport apartment on Sunday evening, accidentally shooting a toddler upstairs.
Timothy Hale, 51, was arraigned in Sullivan County Superior Court on a charge of felony reckless conduct with a deadly weapon.
Police said officers responded to a Laurel Street apartment at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday after the residents reported that their 2-year-old daughter had been shot through the floor from the apartment below.
Responding emergency services found that the girl had suffered a gunshot wound to her right leg. She was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon with non-life-threatening injuries.
"This is the first time for this particular address and this particular incident, these things are not common for Newport," Police Chief James Burroughs said. "We pride ourselves on safe, responsible gun ownership and gun handling.
Authorities said an investigation showed a 12-gauge shotgun round was discharged from Hale's first-floor bedroom through the ceiling.
"The round went from the first floor apartment right through the ceiling and then the floor the child was lying on and that's where it struck her," prosecutors said in court Monday.
A police affidavit said Hale thought someone was in his room. He also said he had been drinking earlier.
Hale's neighbor and friend Katherine Glidden said she thinks he got spooked and fired the gun due to a confrontation they previously had with an undisclosed man.
"I'm nervous. I'm scared. I despise guns - he knows it," said Glidden. "I think it was stupid but I don't believe it was intentional. He would never ever hurt a child."
A not guilty plea was entered for Hale. He was released on personal recognizance, must stay away from firearms, and cannot drink alcohol.
It's unclear when he's due back in court or whether he has an attorney.