CLEVELAND - Many questions still loom over a 12-year-old Cleveland girl being shot twice in the chest by her father before he turned the gun on himself earlier this month.
Robert Arnold died at the scene in the 2000 block of West 104th Street on March 4. His daughter, Cheyene Beach, 12, survived the shooting but not without internal injuries.
Cheyene's mother, Nicole, said her daughter has a hole in her lung, two broken ribs, her diaphragm is ripped and she has a hole in her liver. Despite the horror this family has gone through, they've chosen to speak out because they want everyone to know Arnold was not the monster being portrayed in news reports.
"He was nice and he did everything with me," Cheyene said as she sat next to her mother and cousin at their home. "He was a hard worker and he spoiled me."
So why does Cheyene hold no ill-will against her dad who, by all accounts, tried to kill her?
"Because I know he loved me and it’s the right thing to do," said the brave girl who is going through counseling and still being seen at a local hospital for trauma.
Cheyene called Cleveland police at 3:46 a.m. telling a dispatcher her father shot himself and tried to kill her.
WEB EXTRA: Click below to hear Cheyene's 911 call to police
But the sixth grader didn't want to talk about the specifics that happened early that morning. Cheyene wanted to focus on the good memories she had with her dad.
Nicole said Cheyene was asleep when the shooting happened and woke up to her worst nightmare. Arnold shot his daughter twice in the upper left part of her chest.
But why? Why would a father shoot his daughter? A father described by Nicole as "loving and kind." But those answers may never come.
"This was totally unexpected and I will never understand what happened," Nicole said.
That Sunday, both Cheyene and Arnold went out to dinner. Nicole said Arnold went to bed before his daughter and woke up in the middle of the night to put two bullets through the young girl's body.
"I hope the autopsy will show us some results. Maybe he had some medical problems we didn’t know about because there is no other explanation. He was a solid person. I don’t understand what would make a person do this. I hope if anyone else is feeling this way and their mind is clouded that they get help," said Nicole.
While at a local hospital, Nicole made the decision she was only going to focus on the good things Arnold did for his daughter. She didn’t want her daughter to be trapped in this tragedy forever by reliving the past.
"To forgive is to move on. If we just filled our hearts with anger and pain, then we would never be able to move past it," Nicole said.
Nicole and Arnold had been apart since Cheyene was 8-months-old. Religiously, he would pick his daughter up every weekend so they could spend time together.
Nicole said the two of them only argued about whether Cheyene should have a cellphone. Nicole wanted her to have one, while Arnold did not. Ironically, Nicole said it was the cellphone that saved her daughter's life.
Several friends, teachers and even the school nurse at Cheyene's school stopped by to visit and say "Hello." Nicole said it meant a lot to her daughter and she has grown close to the hospital staff, now calling them family.
Nicole said she's in a battle over Arnold’s estate. She wants it to go to her daughter, but Arnold’s family is fighting it.
"They feel they are entitled to her estate. It’s not about me, it's about them. There are memories her and her father held in that home," Nicole said. "After all that she has been through, I don’t understand how somebody could feel they are entitled to her dad's stuff."
A call out to a family member of Arnold's was not returned.
With Arnold's death and Cheyene's injuries, the family is struggling. If you would like to help out Cheyene, you can go to any US Bank location and donate to Cheyene's Fund.
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