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Wichita’s latest homicide brings home concern about increase in domestic violence

Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 9:51 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - On Wednesday afternoon, the Wichita Police Department provided information that provided some insight into the city’s latest homicide. Two people are dead after a shooting and a standoff in Wichita’s Riverside neighborhood. Police said 37-year-old Jason Williams shot and killed his mother-in-law, 52-year-old Michelle Barr, and also shot and injured his wife. The threat ended, police said, when a WPD officer fatally shot Williams. Police said Tuesday night, Williams was served a Protection From Abuse order (PFA), filed by his wife.

“It’s just a piece of paper. Of course, the person is supposed to stay away from you, but if they are violent and aggressive, that’s not always the case,” Amanda Meyers with the Wichita Family Crisis Center said about the protection order.

In the PFA filed by Williams’ wife, she describes how Williams had a habit of telling her that he was going to pay the price. The statement from his wife also goes into detail about a physical altercation after a medical appointment in which Williams wanted to talk about their divorce. Williams’ wife also wrote that in November, he said “I hope I don’t do anything irrational.” In the protection order, she said that comment caused her to fear what Willaims may be willing to do.

Meyers said the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment, and the holidays have had an impact on the local increase in domestic violence.

“We are noticing the level of violent crime has increased and homicides have increased and (domestic violence) is kind of the canary in the coal mine when it comes to violence, and unfortunately, things start in the home and it’s the igniter,” she said.

In the case Wednesday morning, Wichita police said Williams’ wife and two children were able to make it out of the home safely, along with the wife’s brother who escaped through a window.

For anyone facing potential abuse at home, Meyers said even if you feel like you need just a little bit of help, it’s out there and you shouldn’t be afraid to take that first step. There are several ways you can get help in Wichita and Sedgwick County. The list below includes a handful of available resources.

  • Sedgwick County, 911;
  • Harbor House Domestic Violence Shelter, 263-6000;
  • Wichita Family Crisis Center, 267-7233;
  • Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center, 263-3002;
  • StepStone, 265-1611; or
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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