As reported by Fox Charlotte, recently a tragic, and perhaps preventable, murder-suicide took place in Dallas, North Carolina. Austen Minter, a North Carolina resident with a history of domestic violence, engaged in a domestic argument with his pregnant girlfriend at her home before shooting her and their three children, and then himself. The 6-year-old and 3-year-old children died from their gunshot wounds, while the 7-year-old remains in serious condition at Carolinas Medical Center.
Prior to the attack, the warning signs of domestic violence were all present to law enforcement. Since June of 2008, there have been 24 calls for police assistance to the residence, most of them with reports of domestic violence. In January of 2008, a domestic violence protective order was filed against Minter by his girlfriend. Last month, there were several domestic violence warrants filed against Minter, but police were unable to find him. Neighbors report that they witnessed Minter violently confront his girlfriend several times in the past outside of their home.
If you have witnessed any of the warning signs of domestic violence, domestic violence advocate Bea Cote has some words of advice regarding how to make a report. Cote reports that neighbors who witness scenes between a couple often see the violence as a private affair or domestic squabble, and feel uncomfortable getting involved in the couple's business. A witness to a crime should call 911 every single time he or she witnesses any type of assault. Neighbors should report anything they hear or see that is suspicious. The more reports police get, the more likely they are to investigate the situation and try to put a halt to the occurrences.
In North Carolina, a 50B domestic violence protective order can be entered on behalf of an abused person or a minor child against any person with whom the abused person has had a personal relationship. Those who wish to seek judicial protection can enlist the help of an attorney in filing a domestic civil action or a motion.