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He shot his roommate in self defense and accidentally killed his toddler, Coast man told deputies

Billy Roberts
Billy Roberts Harrison County Adult Detention Center

A Saucier man accused of killing his roommate and his own 2-year-old son was trying to protect himself, according to court papers and a family member.

David Garcia had dropped his infant girl before he and Billy Roberts got into an argument on Feb. 9, said a family member of Roberts, who asked not to be identified.

What happened next led to Garcia’s death from multiple gunshot wounds and the death of Roberts’ son, Chance. The toddler suffered a gunshot wound to his chest.

The men, their girlfriends and children were sharing a mobile home on Riceville Road near Saucier when the double homicide occurred. Their girlfriends were there, and Garcia and Chance were dead when deputies responded to a 911 call about 11:48 p.m.

“The mothers are very distraught, as you can imagine,” Roberts’ relative said.

Roberts, 34, has confessed to the killings and claims he had tried to restrain the 20-year-old Garcia several times to calm him down, but said Garcia continued to attack him, an affidavit says.

The dispute over Garcia’s alleged mishandling of his baby led to an argument at first, then turned physical, Roberts told a Harrison County sheriff’s investigator.

Roberts said Garcia began attacking him and he tried to restrain him several times to calm him down, but Garcia continued to fight him.

Roberts told an investigator he went to his bedroom and locked the door but Garcia banged on the door trying to get in, and threatened to kill him and his son. Roberts said Garcia broke in through the wall to the bathroom and shouted he was going to kill them, according to the affidavit.

Roberts claims he shot Garcia, not realizing his own son was on the bed and had been shot.

Roberts said he was leaving the bedroom when he saw Garcia on the floor at the bedroom door, and shot him again to make sure Garcia would no longer be a threat, the affidavit says.

Roberts faces one count each of murder and manslaughter.

One of Roberts’ family members has started a GoFundMe account, entitled Funeral Cost for Chance Roberts, to help pay for the toddler’s burial expenses.

Roberts was being held at the Harrison County jail on bonds of $1.5 million pending a preliminary court hearing.

At least six other children have been killed on the Mississippi Coast during alleged criminal acts since 2016, Sun Herald archives show. Five of those deaths led to murder or manslaughter charges.

Two of the other children killed were both 2 months old. The others were four months old, 10 months old, 3 years old and 6 years old.

Two of those deaths were considered “hot car” deaths.

Robin Fitzgerald covers real-time news, such as crime, public safety and trending stories. In nearly 40 years as a journalist, her highest honors include investigative awards for covering the aftermath of the fatal beating of a Harrison County jail inmate in 2006 and related civil rights violations. She is a Troy University graduate.