Man accused of shooting his mother

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A Knott County Man is accused of shooting his 81-year-old mother.

State police were called to Elsie Ritchie's home on Highway 550 East in the Garner Community just after nine last night. She died from her injuries Sunday morning at Cabell-Huntington Hospital in West Virginia.

55-year-old Darrell Watts has been at the Kentucky River Regional Jail since Saturday night. Police say he shot his 81-year-old mother, Elsie Ritchie, in the head with a .22 rifle.

The reason why Darrell Watts fired that gun at his mother's home is still unclear.

"We know that he fired two shots and one shot did strike the victim," said Trooper Jennifer Sandlin.

Police say Watts was not far from his mother when the gun went off.

"It was within feet, not yards. It wasn't point blank, but it was in a pretty short distance," added Sandlin.

"There was enough evidence at the scene that we did not believe it was accidental. Although, it may not have been intentional, it was reckless and that's why charges were filed," said Sandlin.

That leaves the Garner community in shock. Elsie Ritchie's lifelong friend says she doesn't believe Watts meant to shoot his mother.

"I don't think he would ever hurt his mother, I really don't. I just don't think he would ever hurt her. He just wasn't that kind of person to hurt his mother," said Patricia Boedeg.

She says Ritchie lived for her children.

Right now, Darrell Watts is charged with first degree assault, but police say that charge will likely be upgraded to murder or reckless homicide since Ritchie has died. Watts is behind bars on $100,000 cash bond.

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