A South Carolina court sentenced a man to 45 years in prison on April 28 after he shot a mother who was trying to protect her 6-year-old child from being raped.
The man, 34-year-old Nathaniel “Nate” Hunter, was convicted of burglary, attempted murder, criminal sexual conduct with a minor and gun possession, WLTX reports.
In April 2014, Hunter broke into the family’s apartment at around 3 a.m. before holding a gun to the mother and her child then ordering them to take their clothes off.
While at first, the mother followed the intruders instructions, she was eventually shot five times as she wrestled over the gun with Hunter to protect her daughter.
A defeated Hunter soon fled the scene, leaving behind his stocking cap. The mother and child ran to safety at a neighbor’s house, where they called the police.
The mother was hospitalized, but recovered from her wounds.
DNA evidence on Hunter’s stocking cap led police straight to the man four days later.
The mother says the incident left emotional scars on her child, who is now 9 years old. She begged the court to give Hunter a long prison time as it had “forever stolen her daughter’s security and innocence.”
At the time of the attempted sexual assault, Hunter had already been convicted of indecent exposure involving a child. He was also out on bail for charges of murder, first-degree burglary and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
While many on social media were shocked and disgusted by Hunter, they were even more impressed by the mother.
“Kudos mom!” wrote one person on the Daily Mail’s website. “You are your daughter’s hero! That was a brave thing you did I’m so glad you survived and will be there for her in her future.”
“What a brave woman,” added another. “I can’t imagine the fear involved in what she went through protecting her little girl. She took this predator off the streets for the rest of us for a very long time, thankfully.”
Many also condemned authorities for allowing Hunter out on bail in the first place.
“Out on bond on such violent crimes,” wrote one person.”Jail the judge who deemed him safe enough to wander amongst good folks. He’s guilty as well. Bless the little one and her mum. Brave woman. Much braver than this monster and that idiot judge.”
Many of those echoing such sentiments also took issue with Hunter’s sentence.
“I have a problem with ONLY 45 years, with good behavior and parole he may be out in less than 20,” wrote one.