Story by: Luke Ramseth
In light of two recent Mississippi shootings that left seven dead, here’s what you should know about how often domestic violence is tied to such events.
In the most recent shooting, police said several friends had gathered Friday for a night of karaoke when Michael Martin Barnhill, 30, shot and killed his wife, Marlee Jones Barnhill, then two other friends who came to her aid. And last month, a Clinton man shot and killed his wife, sister-in-law and two others with ties to his family.
Domestic violence often linked to mass shootings
Nationally, just over half of mass shootings are related to domestic or family violence, according to an analysis of 173 such events in recent years. (The analysis looked at shootings where at least four were killed.) Mississippi’s rate of domestic violence-related mass shootings has been at least as high in the past. In mid-2017, it was linked to two-thirds of mass shooting deaths in the state.
Deadly outburst can be tied to loss of power, control
These types of deadly outbursts often happen “after the victim has severed ties with the abuser or while the victim is attempting to end the relationship,” said Paula Broome, Mississippi special assistant attorney general, after a a 2017 shooting near Brookhaven that left eight dead.
“If the abuser believes that family, friends, coworkers and others are helping the victim or encouraging the victim to leave the relationship, the abuser may resort to eliminating anyone who stands in the way,” she said.
Often there are warning signs
In the national study by Everytown for Gun Safety, researchers found the shooter had exhibited warning signs before the mass shooting in half of the cases.
Domestic violence not always given top priority by authorities
Kit Gruelle, a domestic violence survivor and trainer for first responders, told the Clarion Ledger in 2017 there’s a tendency to discount domestic violence as unimportant, but when that happens, you can “wind up” with a mass shooting like the one that occurred two years ago in Brookhaven and left eight dead. “This is a public safety issue,” she said.
Some police officials agree, saying training to respond to domestic violence offenders is just as important as training for the active shooting itself.
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Posted on March 6, 2019 at 12:34 pm