A 2-year-old girl was shot in the leg late Sunday night when a downstairs neighbor allegedly fired a shotgun into the ceiling of their shared home in Newport, N.H., an incident that ended with the arrest of the neighbor and the hospitalization of the child.
The girl is being treated for what Newport police on Monday described as nonlife-threatening injuries at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Her name is not being released, according to Newport police Chief James C. Burroughs and court records.
According to the chief and town assessing records, police got a 911 call at 11:27 p.m., reporting that the child had been shot while inside a three-unit apartment at 147 Laurel St. in the Sullivan County town located between Lake Sunapee and the Connecticut River.
The child was rushed to the hospital by ambulance while police arrested her downstairs neighbor, identified as Timothy E. Hale, 51, on a felony charge of reckless conduct with a deadly weapon.
Responding officers “found that the two year old girl had been lying on the floor and had sustained a gunshot injury to her right leg,’’ Burroughs wrote. “The investigation revealed that Hale had discharged a single 12 gauge shotgun round from his bedroom through his ceiling and into apartment B striking the two year old.”
The girl is in stable condition, police wrote.
According to police, Hale admitted drinking six beers in the hours before the shooting and officers who spoke with him wrote in a report that he appeared to be intoxicated — and heavily armed. Police found a can of Rolling Rock beer on a nightstand, seven empty beer cans in a trash bin, and a full six-pack in the fridge.
But they also found numerous weapons — underneath one of two pillows on the bed was a loaded High Point .45 caliber pistol with the slide pulled back to ensure faster loading, police wrote. In addition to the Stevens pump shotgun allegedly used to fire into the ceiling above the bed, police found a double barreled shotgun in a gun case “along with numerous other weapons,’’ a single-action shotgun behind a living room chair, and another shotgun near the bed.
The shotgun near the bed was loaded with a “copper core home defense round.”
Police seized the weapons and also allegedly discovered a white powder in a plastic baggie.
According to police, after the shotgun discharged, Hale went upstairs and apologized to his neighbors. Before he invoked his right to be silent and asked for a lawyer, Hale allegedly told police that he was shooting at someone who had entered his apartment.
Asked by police if he saw the person in his apartment, Hale allegedly replied, “I don’t know. I was asleep. I’m sorry, sir.”
Hale was scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Sullivan County Superior Court in Newport, according to police.John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.