A Texas father was arrested for murder after police say he claims he accidentally shot his 15-year-old daughter with a 12 gauge shotgun in the woods as he and his children were attempting to evade unknown people chasing after them, according to an arrest affidavit for warrantless arrest.
Authorities say 40-year-old Edwin Collins arrived at the Hill County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday with “numerous scratches on his arms, face, and shoulder,” the affidavit states. Collins then told officers that he believed “someone was trying to get him” and his children at his home earlier that morning, police said.
Investigators say Collins told them that earlier that day, he loaded his children into the family minivan, armed with a semi-automatic shotgun, and left the home, the affidavit sates. Collins told police he parked his car in the back of Collins’ Hitchin’ Post, the family business, and got out of the car with his children and walked to the rear of the store, authorities said.
Collins claims when they got out of the car, he heard a “loud bang” that he thought may be a gunshot, so he and his children took cover by a large concrete block instead of going inside the store, according to court documents. Police said Collins told them he called 911 from his cell phone, but the call dropped shortly after he began speaking to the dispatcher.
Sheriff Jeffrey Lyon said that a 911 call was placed to the Bosque County Sheriff’s Office, but, because of the weak signal, the call dropped after about nine seconds, KXXV reported.
After placing the 911 call, Collins told authorities he and his children ran from outside the store on foot after he thought he saw two flashlights moving around and pointing at the ground, according to the affidavit. Police say Collins then admitted to firing several “warning shots” with his gun.
As they moved further away, Collins said he told his children to move 100 yards back and said he was going to “kill whoever it was that was chasing them,” police said in the affidavit. Moments later, Collins told police he heard his daughter scream, and he turned around and “shot his shotgun in the direction of the scream,” police said.
Investigators say Collins admitted to shooting his daughter in the back with a semi-automatic shotgun as he stood approximately 10 feet away, according to court documents. Collins stated he knew that he killed his daughter, but he and his surviving children hid in the woods until daylight, police said.
Authorities say Collins told them that he and his children went back to Collins’ Hitchin’ Post and asked his father, the store owner, if deputies responded to the 911 call he placed before the shooting occurred. Collins admitted to authorities that he did not tell his father that he shot his daughter, nor did he call for emergency services from the store phone, according to police.
Collins’ 17-year-old son, who police say witnessed the shooting, led authorities to the body located near a fence line south of the family store, according to the affidavit. Officers say they discovered the body “lying face down on the ground with a gunshot wound to the back.”
Attempts to reach Collins’ attorney for a comment were unsuccessful.
Hill County Chief Sherriff’s Deputy Stephen Girsh said police have not determined what circumstances led to the shooting, but they have not ruled out the possibility the girl’s death was an accident, WacoTrib.com reported.