Nashville man charged with shooting 11 year old in face while playing in tree house

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Thomas Ouellette, 63, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with aggravated assault for allegedly shooting  an 11 year old child in the face with a pellet gun while he was playing in a tree house outside his window.

On 04/30/18 at 7:30 PM, Officers responded to call of shots fired in Goodlettsville. The victim was an 11 year old juvenile male who was shot in the face with a pellet gun while playing in a tree house. The child was immediately transported Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, where he will have to undergo surgery to remove the bullet when later moved from the entrance to his chin.

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Officers were advised that a possible suspect lived next door to the location of the incident, and officers noticed two windows on the side of the suspect’s residence – one with a screen, and the one closest to the tree house was missing the screen.

The owner of the property the tree house was on stated he was asleep during the incident, but knew that the juvenile and the neighbor, Thomas Ouellette, had exchanged words in the past, citing an incident that took place last year when the juvenile had allegedly one of Ouellette’s windows. The neighbor also reports that Ouellette had more recently accused the juvenile of stealing a lock off his shed and going through his things. The neighbor stated the juvenile and his sister are allowed to play in the tree house on his property, as they often play with his grandchildren.

Officer’s interviewed the victim’s 9 year-old sister, who says she observed Thomas Ouellette at his rear window while she and her brother were playing. She stated that Ouellette was “bald at the top” and had “grey hair on the side, and was wearing a purple shirt and glasses”. She stated she saw the suspect in his back yard working on what appeard to be a bird house earlier, then going back inside his home. She then states she saw Ouellette in the rear window again, and he was lifting the window up and down. A few minutes later she says she heard a whistle sound, and then her brother started screaming while holding his face. The two children ran home, told their father, and called 911.

The victim’s sister also says that the last time Ouellette exchanged words with her brother, he said if he saw them around his property again, he would shoot up their house. Police interviewed several neighbors, and all stated they were familiar with the confrontations between the juvenile and Mr. Ouellette.

Mr. Ouellette was not home when police arrived. A few hours after officers had left Mr. Ouellette returned home, and when police made contact with him he was wearing a purple polo as the female juvenile described. Mr. Ouellette stated he was under the influence of alcohol and was unable to come to the police station to be interviewed. Officers then advised Mr. Ouellette that he was a suspect for injuring the victim but due to him stating he was under the influence of alcohol, they would not question him at this time. Ouellette agreed to meet for an interview on Wednesday, May 2.

As of that evening, the victim was at Vanderbilt children’s hospital, and was unable to speak due to the pellet that was lodged in his face. Doctors were unable to remove the pellet from his face at the time, and stated it had traveled toward the victim’s chin, and would have to be surgically removed.

On 05/02, Mr. Ouellette came to the Goodlettsville Police Department, at which time he was read him his Miranda Rights and he stated he was advised by a lawyer not to answer any questions. Based on the circumstances surrounding the incident, the tree house and the chair inside of it being perfectly aligned with the side rear window, the location of the victim’s injury, and the female juvenile’s detailed observations of Mr. Ouellette in the window, he was charged with aggravated assault for causing serious bodily injury to the victim.

Thomas Ouellette was given a $10,000 bond, which he posted via Rader Bonding, and was released three hours later. He will appear in court on 05/18/18. You can view the arrest affidavit here.

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