Another day, another life lost to America’s ever-escalating gun violence.
On Thursday, seven-year-old Emma Watson Nowling took a break from soccer training to greet a man on the sidelines.
“Little Emma went up and gave the guy a hug,” Emma’s soccer coach Mario Scicluna told the Detroit Free Press.
When practice ended, the same man is believed to have shot Emma along with her mother Sharon Elizabeth Watson, 37, in the car park of the Taylor Sporting Arena before turning the gun on himself.
Emma was rushed to the Children’s Hospital of Detroit, where she later died of her injuries, her mother remains in a critical condition.
According to local police, the shooter, 57-year-old Timothy Nelson Obeshaw, was a friend of the Nowling family and witnesses said he had previously attended the girl’s practices and games.
Mr Obeshaw was described by relatives as mentally unstable, but his motivations for the attack remain unclear.
“Police found evidence that Obeshaw believed someone was trying to perform mind control on him,” a press release from the Taylor Police Department said.
“Unfortunately, this man’s apparent mental illness led to a little girl who just wanted to play soccer never going home again,” the Chief of Police Mary Sclabassi wrote in a post on the department’s Facebook page.