Four in custody following shooting death of Hilton Head 8-year-old

astice@islandpacket.comSeptember 2, 2012 

  • The only time 8-year-old Khalil Singleton would stop for rest was when he was riding in the car from one place to another, said his father, Kareem Singleton.

    "He would take a nap then," he said. "Other than that, he was going 100 miles an hour and running."

    Kareem Singleton grieved for his only son surrounded by family and friends Sunday at his Ridgeland home. He pointed outside to the basketball hoop in the driveway, where Khalil undoubtedly would have been playing if the boy were there.

    Khalil, a third-grader at Hilton Head Island Elementary School, died Saturday afternoon after he was shot while playing outside of his grandmother's home on Hilton Head Island's Allen Road, where he was living.

    The stray bullet from a gunfight took the life of a boy whose family and educators say was full of energy.

    His grandmother, Edvina Washington, said she heard the rapid gunshots while she was inside her home.

    "I called his name, he didn't answer," Washington said. "I walked outside and saw him laying across the road."

    Khalil's second cousin, Britney Brinson, a nurse at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, rushed outside to administer CPR. She was still trying to revive Khalil when paramedics and Beaufort County Sheriff's deputies arrived.

    According to a Sheriff's Office report, Khalil was struck on the left side of his torso. He was pronounced dead at Hilton Head Hospital. Four men believed to have been involved in a feud that became violent have been arrested and questioned about Khalil's death.

    Washington wants the men behind bars for life. Kareem Singleton said the only thing he wants is his baby back.

    Singleton said he wanted a better life for his son than his own. He enrolled Khalil in the Hilton Head Baseball Association, where he works as an umpire, when the boy was 4.

    Khalil grins in his baseball uniform from a photo that the family has many copies of, from portraits to mousepads.

    "He was so very full of life in everything that he did, whether it was baseball or learning or being a good friend," said Jill McAden, principal at Hilton Head Island Elementary.

    Erika McGoldrick, who has been working in the school's media center since Khalil was in first grade, said he stood out from other boys his age.

    "He just came in on Friday and checked out a couple of books," McGoldrick said. "I was complimenting him on his very handsome new haircut for school."

    Khalil loved to read and frequently visited the school's library. McGoldrick, whose daughter is Khalil's age and also is involved in the Hilton Head Baseball Association, said she was just as impressed with him when she saw him at games.

    "When he wasn't playing, he would sit in the stands," McGoldrick said. "I was always amazed at how well he minded his manners and respected his father. To be 8 years old and spend time like that at a baseball park without getting wild... there's just not many kids like that."

    Kareem Singleton said his son loved sports of all kinds. A bin in the family's garage filled with Khalil's sports equipment makes the point.

    "Everybody loved my baby," Kareem Singleton said. "Nobody more than me."

Four men are in custody after a feud turned violent Saturday afternoon and stray gunfire killed an 8-year-old boy on Hilton Head Island.

None of the men has been charged yet in the death of Hilton Head Island Elementary School student Khalil Singleton. He was playing near his grandmother's home on Allen Road when a bullet fired in the gun battle hit him in the torso shortly before 5 p.m.

Allen Road is off of Marshland Road, running between Marshland and Broad Creek, and leads to a neighborhood of randomly scattered mobile homes.

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office says the dispute between Tyrone Robinson, 37, and two other men -- Aaron Scott Young Sr., 36, and his son Aaron Scott Young Jr., 19 -- began earlier Saturday. The men, all of whom have been arrested, had "an ongoing feud," according to the Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office said Robinson had been armed earlier Saturday afternoon when he got into a fight with Young Jr. on Wildhorse Road, where the Youngs live. During the fight, Robinson allegedly pulled a handgun. The men struggled and the weapon went off, but the bullet didn't strike anyone, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The incident was one of several altercations between Robinson and the Youngs that day, the Sheriff's Office says.

Later on Saturday, the Youngs allegedly came to Allen Road, where Robinson lives. The Sheriff's Office said the Youngs fired at Robinson's unoccupied car, which was parked on the side of the road.

Young Sr. and Young Jr. both have been charged with one count of discharging a firearm into a vehicle. Each is being held on $150,000 bond, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center jail log.

Robinson was charged with pointing and presenting a firearm in connection with the earlier struggle with Young Jr. He also is charged in an unrelated incident, the second-degree burglary of Top Dollar Pawn on Aug. 19. His bond is set at $75,000, according to the jail log. Top Dollar Pawn has shops on Hilton Head and Bluffton, according to phone book listings.

The fourth man arrested and questioned in connection with Khalil's shooting is Jontu Singleton, 35, who investigators say was Robinson's accomplice in the August burglary of Top Dollar Pawn.

Khalil's second cousin, Britney Brinson, a nurse at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, said Khalil was playing with Singleton's son on Saturday afternoon when he was shot.

Brinson said she saw Robinson walking down Allen Road just after the shooting. He saw the wounded boy and kept walking, then went inside a home, she said. Robinson lives just down the street from where the shooting occurred.

Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone said rap sheets for the four men were not immediately available. According to the Beaufort County Detention Center jail log, all four of the men had been arrested in the past.

Young Jr. was charged with malicious injury to real property and disrupting schools in 2011. He also was charged with trespassing that year.

Young Sr. has been arrested 18 times since 1996, including Saturday's arrest, for offenses such as high and aggravated criminal domestic violence, possession of crack, possession of cocaine, driving under suspension and violating probation, parole and orders of protection.

Robinson has been arrested 27 times since 1994, including Saturday's arrest. He has been charged with possession and distribution of crack; attempted murder; leaving the scene of an accident twice; assault and battery multiple times, including assaulting a police officer while trying to flee; criminal domestic violence; theft; and fleeing the scene of a crime. He has served time in state prisonfor some of those crimes, according to the jail log.

Singleton also has served time in state prison, according to the jail log. He has been arrested 27 times in Beaufort County, including Saturday's arrest, for offenses including assault with intent to kill, driving under the influence, shoplifting, criminal domestic violence and violating probation and parole, according to the jail log.

Sheriff P.J. Tanner said the Sheriff's Office will not provide updates on the case until mid-week, when forensics testing is expected to be completed.

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