Witnesses describe finding child after quintuple shooting

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

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GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - On the second day of testimony, prosecutors painted a gruesome scene after a mass shooting that left four people dead.

The alleged gunman, Richard Ringold, is on trial in Gwinnett County. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

On Monday, the first responding officers described how they found the surviving shooting victim, a 4-year-old girl.

“We could see that a light was being turned off and on upstairs, so it led us to believe that there was somebody in the house,” said Gwinnett County Officer Aaron Brinkman.
 
Brinkman testified he could see a woman's body lying in the doorway of the Lawrenceville home on Clairidge Road in 2009. But responding officers said they had no idea what else or who else was inside.

They went in with guns drawn, calling out “Police!”
 
"I kept giving verbal commands, and finally two little hands popped up over the railing,” said Sgt. Kevin Isenhour.
 
Isenhour told jurors he grabbed the 4-year-old girl and carried her out of the home.
 
"First she said that ‘Rich killed my whole family. He shot everybody.’ I said, ‘Are you OK?’  She said, ‘No, he shot me, too.’ And about that time, I could feel her blood on my face," he said.
 
Prosecutors said the girl identified the defendant, Richard Ringold. They said Ringold shot and killed the child's mother, Antonia Butler, and her 11-year-old sister, Jhane Thomas, along with two other adults inside the home.
 
When paramedics first got to the girl, they said it looked like she had tried to treat herself.
 
"She said she had gone upstairs, taken the old shirt off that was covered in blood and she had put the Band-Aids on the wounds and put what she described as her favorite shirt on,” said paramedic Adam Hawkins.
 
Hawkins said she was reluctant to remove the shirt because of its sentimental value.
 
"She said, ‘Please don't cut this shirt off. It's my favorite shirt. My mom gave it to me,’" Hawkins said.
 
The defense had few questions for the witnesses during cross-examination, but they did question a key piece of evidence.  Sgt. Matt Brookings said that as jail deputies were packing up Ringold's clothing after he was booked into the Gwinnett County jail, he noticed blood on Ringold's shoes.

“The last thing that went into the bag was his shoes. They were placed on top of the bag, and the bag was very full," Brookings said.

The defense questioned how the police obtained the shoes and what they did with them afterward, but ultimately, the judge allowed them into evidence.

Testimony continues Tuesday. The surviving child, now 7, is expected to testify.



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