According to 52-year-old Patricia Compton, her first response when a neighbor called to tell her that two people were on her property was to grab her gun and head down there.
Compton didn’t own the land, nor was her home located on the property in question. But she had some animals there, and the plot was used for a construction shop. Whatever her actual rights to the property were, Compton was ready to shoot someone to defend it, WGXA TV reports.
When the Peach County resident arrived at Rowland Circle, she encountered two Black boys, 12-year-old Kaleb Barnes and 13-year-old Ethan Hollis, who were riding their bikes through the neighborhood.
For many folks, this would probably be the end of the story—oh, the “trespassers” are just children on bikes? Back to my little self-care Sunday. But not for Compton. According to the boys, she pointed her gun and told them, “Stop, or I’ll shoot you.”
Compton now faces a slew of charges from the Nov. 22 incident, including several counts of aggravated assault, child cruelty and terrorist threats, reports WMAZ TV.
According to a police report, Compton claims she didn’t realize the boys were kids. One of the boys, Ethan, ran from the scene and brought back Venita Kennedy, Kaleb’s grandmother, who began recording the confrontation on Facebook Live.
When officers arrived, Compton claimed she didn’t realize the boys were children. According to police reports, she told deputies that because there aren’t many Black kids in the neighborhood, “she thought it was strangers that were up to no good.” She also claimed her right to self-defense, saying she wasn’t sure if the boys were armed.
But neither Kennedy nor the police were buying it.
“When the officer was explaining the law to her, she then told the officer that if the kids had approached her, she would have shot them. This is what we’re dealing with,” Kennedy told WMAZ.
The arresting officer wrote in their report that Compton had “ample time to react to their age and recognize them,” as well as conclude that they presented no danger to her. They also noted the confrontation happened in broad daylight—around 3:40 pm—and believed, because the kids lived in the neighborhood and rode their bikes through it often, that Compton knew who the kids were.
“With all of this information presented to her, she still decided to brandish a firearm,” the deputy noted.
Speaking to reporters last Monday about Compton, Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese echoed his deputy’s assessment, saying there simply was no danger present for her to claim self-defense.
“The basics of it is you have to feel threatened that somebody’s about to do you serious bodily injury or death or serious damage to property.”
(Updated 3/3/22 with new details)