A 7-year-old was in critical condition Tuesday after his grandmother accidentally shot him when she mistakenly thought he was an intruder breaking into her bedroom.
Hillsborough County detectives said Linda Maddox would take care of her twin grandsons every week while their father was working overnight; she'd have them sleep with her in a bedroom with the door locked, a chair propped up against it, and a gun by her side.
Early Tuesday morning, she heard the chair move and tried unsuccessfully to turn on the light. When she heard the chair move again, she fired her gun in fear, then heard Tyler Maddox, 7, scream.
"It's devastating just to hear about any child," said Joyce Anderson, who lives nearby. "I can't even hardly talk about it. It makes my heart just be pounding for their family."
"It's really emotional," said Jonathan Aristizabal, who lives across the street. "It's kind of sad. I'm pretty sure everybody in this neighborhood is kind of shocked."
Tyler was in surgery throughout much of the afternoon and was stable but still critical early Tuesday evening. Detectives said he suffered "extensive injuries" to his upper body, but have not yet said where he was shot.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the family lives in a relatively safe neighborhood: deputies have been called to their house four times since the beginning of 2013, all for minor reasons.
Investigators said Linda Maddox told them she took so many precautions because she wanted to be as safe as possible while taking care of the children by herself.
"We've lived here, like I said, 42 years. I've never, ever had a problem," said Anderson. "I don't know how bad he is, but our prayers are going to be with them tonight."