Earlier this week, a woman in Johnston County and her 14 year old son were shot and killed by her estranged husband, who then shot and killed himself.

Ironically, according to the story from the Raleigh News & Observer, Devinee House was at the final stages of completing her divorce the night the shooting occurred.  Her attorney, Bob Spence, said that when she came to see him on Monday, she was in a good mood and happy that their divorce paperwork was almost complete.

This sad and tragic event underscores the importance of recognizing the warning signs of possible domestic abuse, and taking affirmative steps to prevent it, if at all possible.  According to TurningPointServices.org, some of the warning signs include:

  1. INTRUSION: Constantly asks you where you are going, who you are with, etc.
  2. ISOLATION: Insists that you spend all or most of your time together, cutting you off from friends and family.
  3. POSSESSION AND JEALOUSY: Accuses you of flirting/having sexual relationships with others; monitors your clothing/make-up.
  4. NEED FOR CONTROL: Displays extreme anger when things do not go his way; attempts to make all of your decisions.
  5. UNKNOWN PASTS / NO RESPECT FOR WOMEN: Secretive about past relationships; refers to women with negative remarks, etc.

I also gleamed from this story the importance of getting people who are going through divorce into counseling early and often.  The man that committed this senseless crime was no doubt troubled, and probably showed warning signs of mental instability.

Bottom line – If you find yourself in a situation where you are scared or start to notice the warning signs of domestic violence, you need to call someone immediately.  Whether it be the police, or your attorney, or even a close family member or friend – do not let yourself be a victim.  There are free and low cost programs out there that can help you.  Don’t be afraid to make the call.