Back in September, we told you about two very dangerous calls for service our deputies answered related to domestic violence, during which two different women threatened their significant others with knives. Both were charged with serious crimes.

Now one month later, we are still talking about calls for service related to domestic violence, and still urging people to get help before things get out of hand.

On Halloween, one Lakeland family was torn apart when a husband shot and killed his wife, then killed himself, in front of their 21-year-old son. Their two daughters, ages 11 and 7 years old, were outside in the truck, waiting to go trick-or-treating. The next morning, a Mulberry man went to his estranged wife’s home, where he battered her and threatened her with a gun. She was able to escape, and grab the gun away from him. He overpowered her, got the gun, and killed himself in the roadway, in front of a passer-by and down the road from Mulberry High School. Barely 12 hours later, deputies went to a home in Lakeland on Goodyear Avenue to check on a husband and wife after the wife’s mother called the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office to report they were fighting. When deputies arrived, the husband refused to open the door, then repeatedly shot at two deputies through the door and window – miraculously the deputies weren’t hit. At the end of the night, and after a long standoff, we located the suspect deceased inside from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

These incidents are not related, but they are three more examples of how cases of domestic violence can quickly escalate, and lead to death. To say our hearts are broken for the families, and especially the children of these three couples, is an understatement.

If you know someone who is a victim of domestic violence, don’t be afraid to speak up. Call the Peace River crisis line at 863-413-2700 for help. Urge the person to get out of that unhealthy and dangerous situation, and contact law enforcement immediately if the person is in imminent danger. And please, if you find yourself in a situation that is getting heated, do not escalate it further with violence. Sometimes, an aggressor can quickly become a victim. As always, dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, so that we can dispatch help to you as quickly as possible.

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