He is 10 years old and playing ball. For a little boy who had been in the center of a custody dispute, it may have been encouraging that many of his family would be there to see him play. Or it may have been a source of dread for him.
His mother wouldn’t be there, she had been caught in a drug raid in April 2005 and charged with distributing marijuana and currently is in the prison system awaiting sentencing. Still his father Jerry B. ‘Brent’ Shands, 39,and both sets of his grandparents turned out to watch his game.
After the game as they were leaving the area, a dispute began.
Some say that the maternal grandfather blamed Shands for his daughter’s arrest, that he believed that Brent Shands turned her in. Allegedly the maternal grandfather may have made some threats to shoot some of the paternal family in the past. Some say the argument began when the maternal grandmother Patricia Noe may have said something to Jerry “Brent” Shands and pointed an umbrella at him. Some say the elder Shands tried to hit the maternal grandmother. Some say the situation has been building over the last 7 years. But most agree that the custody dispute for the boy had been going on since January 2005.
Evidently there have been previous disputes between the two families. There was reportedly another dispute at another ballpark where Noe was allegedly to have threatened the Shands during a ballgame. There may have been other reports made.
It is believed that as the group was walking off the ballfield, that the maternal grandfather Samuel L. Noe, 61, pulled a gun and began firing. Paternal grandparents Ellen E. ‘Sue’ Shands, 62, and Jerry D. Shands, 63, were both hit in the face. Reportedly Jerry “Brent” Shands and two other men rushed to Noe and a struggle began over the gun. During the struggle more shots were fired and both Jerry B. ‘Brent’ Shands, 39, and the maternal grandfather Samuel L. Noe, 61, were reportedly hit. The gun used was a 5 shot .38 caliber revolver, and police are declining to say how many shots were fired.
A witness has said that after the shooting stopped, he looked out and saw the boy standing among the bloody bodies of his family. ‘Maybe he was in shock, I don’t know. He was walking around and it seemed he didn’t have an expression on his face.’ Others have said he looked dazed.
Maternal grandfather Samuel Noe and paternal grandfather Jerry D. Shands were pronounced dead at the scene. Paternal grandmother Ellen E. ‘Sue’ Shands was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. The father Jerry “Brent” Shands was flown to a hospital where family reports he is in serious condition.
The little boy is reportedly now being cared for by friends.
The investigation is continuing, but the district attorney says he doesn’t believe there is anyone left to charge. Some family is pointing to the maternal grandmother, saying that she is the one who got the attention of the victims. It is believed that someone captured the dispute on video, but investigators haven’t viewed it yet. Investigators have interviewed Patricia Noe, but say there isn’t any evidence yet that the attack was premeditated.
He is ten years old. And reportedly the two sides of his family has been fighting for 7 years. Now they are fighting over him. 10 year old children often feel the blame for family disputes, even when they are aren’t about them. A child of 10 for instance may feel responsible for his parents divorce- even though it may not have anything to do with him.
But the latest dispute is over him and his custody. The latest dispute resulted in the death of 2 of his grandfather’s, one grandmother, and the injury of his father. How do you tell a child of ten, this wasn’t his fault? How do get a child of ten to understand and believe that the annihilation of many of his family, isn’t his fault?
Most likely they all loved him. Most likely they all wanted to care for him. And most likely they all felt they were the best ones to care for him. And at 10 years old, he stood alone at the ballfield, among the dead and injured of his family. Now he is being cared for by friends.
It is a bitter reminder that custody and child support disputes usually leave a victim even when all survive- the victim is usually at the heart of the dispute, the child.
And a Thank You goes to Magz for the tip on this one.
The sheriff has indicated that three of the people in the melee had permits to carry a weapon. But even with a permit, the law states that weapons cannot be carried into certain areas like public parks.
Jerry Shands, Brent Shands, and Samuel Noe all had permits. But only one weapon was found, that weapon believed to belong to Noe.
The 911 calls. An off duty officer may have been at the scene at the time of the shootings. Investigators have not interviewed the 10 year old boy as yet, but it is believed that he saw the shootings.