HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As the sun went down over a Hendersonville community, a family is mourning the death of Timea Batts.
The 11-year-old was killed Monday afternoon after her father, Timothy Batts, says he accidentally shot her when she woke him up inside their home on Shady View Drive.
“This is a child. He’s locked up and she’s gone,” Deandria Anderson, a family friend.
While Batts, a convicted felon in several crimes, should not have had a gun, Anderson believes he kept it to keep his family safe from his past.
“He’s changed. He’s not that same person, and just the situation—he really does love his kids,” she told News 2.
Anderson says the smile on Timea’s face tell it all.
“This was his firstborn. This is his oldest child,” she said.
Pastor Kenny Smith believes instead of pointing fingers, the community can learn from this tragedy.
“He corrected his past, going toward his future. It’s a tragic situation, and he needs prayer. Where he is right now, he needs prayer. I pray for him, for his family,” Pastor Smith told News 2.
With prayer, music and candlelight, a community is holding Timea in their hearts while supporting a family for the months to come.
On Monday, News 2 spoke with neighbors who said Timea was amazing, beautiful, and fun, and always upbeat.
School officials said she was “a bright and kind girl who was well loved by her classmates and teachers.”
Family members plan to meet at the Summer County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday. They are asking authorities to allow Batts to attend Timea’s funeral.