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Shootings shine spotlight on domestic violence

Posted April 2, 2009

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— The Carthage police chief said earlier this week that investigators are looking into whether a shooting rampage at a local nursing home could be a case of domestic violence.

Although investigators have not publicly offered a motive for the crimes, the alleged gunman's estranged wife, Wanda Stewart, was working at the center when the shootings occurred.

Lyndelia Wynn Shootings shine spotlight on domestic violence

She and her mother have said that the couple's marriage is troubled and has a history of domestic violence.

Lyndelia Wynn, program director of Cumberland County's CARE Center Family Violence Program, said Thursday that if the claims are true, she would not necessarily be surprised by Sunday's shootings.

"Chances are, there were signs," said Wynn, a social worker who has counseled hundreds of families in crisis.

"Usually, the violence starts with subtle statements, pushing – and then, it escalates," she said. "The next thing you know, you see the weapons, and somebody gets hurt."

Authorities said Robert Kenneth Stewart, 45, shot and killed eight people at Pinelake Health and Rehab on Sunday before a Carthage police officer shot him and ended the rampage. Stewart was wounded but survived and has been charged with eight counts of first-degree murder.

Wanda Stewart said she left her husband four weeks before the rampage, and her mother said Stewart was tired of his controlling behavior and angry outbursts.

They also claimed Robert Stewart was possessive, jealous and always knew where his wife was.

Wynn said such behavior is an indicator of a situation that needs immediate intervention.

"We don't know how far a person will go who is angry, who is enraged," she said.

Wynn said there are strategies a victim can use to diffuse anger – such as not arguing, talking softly, acting sympathetic and making eye contact.

But the best thing to do, she said, is seek intervention the first time violence begins, and get treatment and police protection before it becomes violent.

A statewide study recently found that 131 people died in 2008 as a result of domestic violence.

Wynn said studies also show that victims go back to their abusers an average of seven times before they leave for good.

The CARE program, which helped approximately 500 families deal with domestic violence last year, offers services for both victims and abusers. Those services include free counseling, an emergency shelter for women and children and a six-month treatment program for batterers.

"Don't wait," she said. "It's not going to get better."

6 Comments

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  • xchief661 Apr 3, 2009

    I can't recall once where a woman did such a thing in a reversal roll. When the woman is the violent one she just does mean things to her husband. Ive been trying to think. Does anyone remember where a woman did something like this. Please refresh my memory if there is.

  • See Chart Apr 2, 2009

    When men learn not to possess women when
    women wish to leave ,this crime will stop.
    Men have learn to get over a breakup or divorce
    or a child custody hearing determination in family court.

  • dadofcompletion Apr 2, 2009

    WRAL you might want to contact Mark Wynn http://www.markwynn.com/.
    He is a leading expert on domestic violence. It would make a great multi part series on domestic violence. One of the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is when they leave the relationship. The batter loses control of the victim and that can be fatal for the victim and others. WRAL you would be surprised to know how many of your employees suffer domestic violence everyday, they come to work everyday, and you can not tell they are in a domestic violence relationship. Domestic violence crosses every bounding. It does not matter how much money you have, what race you are, what your status is, and etc.,It can effect everyone.

  • annemarek Apr 2, 2009

    Domestic violence is increasing in our society. It seems there is more and more of violence in the home. This domestic violence rampages through all spheres of socio-economic groups. Can the government protect them all? I think not. Can you predict which perpetrator will snap and go kill others besides their spouse? Who is to monitor the offenders and how often do you monitor?

  • oldfirehorse Apr 2, 2009

    Thatsgreat~ Absolutely correct! PLEASE READ JUDGES: This is what you get when you keep cutting them loose in your court!!!!

  • working for deadbeats Apr 2, 2009

    "Shootings shine spotlight on domestic violence"

    Good. Now do something about court system and prosecute DV as it should be.