A white Georgia woman has been charged with aggravated assaults after she pulled a gun on two Black boys bikes in their neighborhood.
The boys, 12-year-old Kaleb Barnes and 13-year-old Ethan Hollis, told WMAZ they were riding their bikes in a Byron, Georgia, neighborhood on Nov. 22, when 52-year-old Patricia Compton pointed a gun at them.
“My friend Ethan started running and I just stood there and said, ‘Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, I’m a kid,’ and I tripped on those rocks,” said Barnes. The pair of best friends had been trying to find out were some animal noises were coming from.
Compton, whom the boys said owned the land where the noises were coming from, pulled up near them in a black vehicle.
“Stop, or I’ll shoot you,” Compton said, pointing them gun at them. Compton later told police she did not own nor live on the property, but that she kept animals there and had received a call from someone who said there were two people on the property. She said she grabbed her gun and drove to the property after receiving the call.
After being threatened by Compton, Hollis then ran to Barnes’ grandparents’ home, leaving Barnes at the scene.
Venita Kennedy, Barnes’ grandmother, said she heard Compton tell deputies she would have shot the boys if they had approached her. The children told police they were on the property to see the animals.
Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said Compton can’t claim self-defense because she wasn’t in danger. The boys were not armed and the encounter happened in broad daylight.
“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,” said Deese.
Compton said she didn’t know the boys were children and wasn’t sure whether or not they were armed. She also said there aren’t many “Black kids” in the neighborhood, so she was wary of the boys’ intentions.
The boys’ parents said Compton knew the kids, who rode bikes in the neighborhood regularly.
Compton was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, child cruelty and terroristic threats. She has been released on bond.
Deputies explained the charges against Compton in a police report, writing: “With the juveniles living in the neighborhood, the age of the juveniles, and the fact that it was daylight outside which revealed their identity, I believe that Mrs. Compton had ample time to react to their age and recognize them and also acknowledge that they presented no danger to her or anyone in the area. With all of this information presented to her, she still decided to brandish a firearm and present it to where the children were aware of its presence within the situation, placing them in fear for their safety.”