Domestic violence rears its ugly head

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

   Severe instances of domestic violence are making their mark on Carter County, including the latest incident where a woman was shot and killed in the parking lot of McDonald's on Broad Street Monday morning in what police are describing as a "domestic related incident."
   According to police, the woman, who is approximately 30 years old, was shot as she sat in her vehicle in the parking lot of the fast food restaurant after she and a male suspect had been involved in an argument inside. The woman's two children were in the vehicle at the time she was attacked.
   This is not the first incident in Carter County where an individual was assaulted and seriously injured by someone they had a blood relationship or domestic relationship with.
   In September 2003, a Butler man was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder after police say he shot his wife in the face with a handgun while the couple's children were in the home.
   In October of that same year, a woman was arrested following a domestic altercation at Hardee's on Broad Street after she reportedly stabbed her boyfriend and then threatened officers who arrived on the scene.
   The following month, in November 2003, a Stoney Creek man was charged with attempted first-degree murder after he allegedly shot his father's girlfriend in the chest with a compound bow he had armed with a broad-head arrow. According to police, the young man shared a residence with his father and his father's girlfriend.
   According to the Tennessee Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, there were more than 63,800 domestic violence incidents -- including murder, assaults and sexual offenses -- in the state during 2001, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
   The problem is not just isolated in Tennessee, but is an issue which law enforcement agencies across the nation deal with on a daily basis. "Almost four million American women were physically abused by their husbands or boyfriends in the last year alone," states information from the TCADSV.
   According to information from the Family Violence Prevention Fund, women are more often the victims of domestic abuse than victims of burglary, muggings or other physical crimes combined. Nationally, approximately 42 percent of murdered women are killed by their intimate partners or by former intimate partners, according to the TCADSV. In the state of Tennessee, that percentage is higher with 62 percent of the women who are murdered being killed by current or former intimate partners, and Tennessee ranks fifth in the nation in the number of women murdered by men. State statistics provided by the TCADSV also show that of the women who were killed by their intimate partners, approximately 74 percent of them were killed with guns.