A 27-year-old Tulane University law student was shot dead by his wife this past weekend. The woman called 9-1-1 herself to report the incident and was taken into custody. Meanwhile, her husband was pronounced dead at the scene.
“This was not a random act,” said Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto. “The person actually called and admitted to shooting her husband.”
After being questioned by law enforcement, the woman was released that same day with no charges filed: This homicide is being considered a justified defensive gun use. That’s because, according to the Sheriff’s office, the woman “provided a detailed and well-documented history of physical and psychological abuse.” Even though her friends and family had no idea what had been going on, she “was able to provide a significant amount of corroborating evidence to back her statements.”
The woman told police that on the night of the shooting, “another incident of physical abuse occurred through the evening…that included escalating altercations and attempted strangulation.”
“Fearing that the years of abuse would culminate in the loss of her life, she shot her husband,” reported Captain Jason Rivarde. “She displayed multiple physical injuries that corroborated her account.”
And such fears wouldn’t have been unreasonable. Violence prevention expert Gavin De Becker writes about this in his acclaimed book The Gift of Fear (makes a good gift). The longer intimate violence is tolerated, the more likely it becomes that it will escalate to murder.
As an additional side note, there are people who claim that women’s allegations of violence are dismissed or not believed in our society. Cases like this one, in which a woman uses a firearm to defend herself against a spouse without facing criminal charges, suggest that abused women are, in fact, increasingly trusted and believed by law enforcement.