Shooting outside daycare prompts domestic violence awareness

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A daycare on the northwest side of Indianapolis soon became a crime scene Tuesday after police said a man shot his ex-wife several times.

According to police, Christopher Justice shot his ex-wife Shirley Justice several times outside the Kindercare on 38th Street just before 7:30 a.m.

The shooting is yet another example of danger the community must realize and work to stop, according to a local domestic violence expert.

“He probably had no intention of hurting anyone else but her,” said Laura Berry, executive director of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Berry said Tuesday’s shooting isn’t surprising given the nature of the couple’s relationship.

“I think his intent was clear, and we can only hope and pray that she makes it through this tragedy,” said Berry.

Berry said violence, especially lethal violence, escalates when a person is losing control. Court documents provided to FOX 59 show Christopher Justice got custody of the couple’s daughter more than a week ago, but an Indiana Supreme Court order signed Thursday, Feb. 13 assigned the custody case to another judge.

“We could speculate that recent court actions within the last week could be the trigger,” said Berry.

Domestic disputes don’t always involve a courtroom.

Back in Feb. 3 in Franklin, 21-year-old Andrew Parish got into an argument at his ex-girlfriend’s home, pulled out a gun, and then shot and killed her friend and a neighbor who came over to help. Parrish later killed himself.

Berry said both situations are signs domestic violence is present in our lives, even if it’s not affecting us.

“The key is prevention early before we have and rise to this level of domestic violence,” she said.

One of those ways of prevention is educating young kids what healthy relationships look like, another includes keeping an eye out for signs of abuse in family members or friends.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. The Julian Center in Indianapolis can help with planning. They also take in women and children who need a safe place to live.

The national domestic violence hotline is another resource at 1-800-799-7233.