Research into two of America’s deadliest mass shootings this year have shown the victims and the perpetrators all shared one thing in common.
Last weekend Meredith Hight was killed, along with eight other people when her estranged husband, Spencer James Hight, burst into her house and opened fire.
Back in May this year, Sheena Godbolt attended her mother’s cookout when her husband, Willie Cory Godbolt, shot and killed her, along with her older sister, her aunt and an officer who responded to the scene of the crime.
He then drove to two other houses and killed more of Sheena’s family.
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It’s clear from these two separate tragedies, Meredith and Sheena were victims who had both been targeted by their husbands.
According to The Huffington Post, research by the Everytown for Gun Safety group found:
[The] majority of mass shootings ― defined as incidents where at least four people are killed, not including the perpetrator ― involve domestic violence.
Furthermore, research shows between 2009 and 2016, in 54% of mass shootings, the gunman targeted a current or former partner and/or members of their family.
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The data also found the perpetrators who carry out the shootings have previously displayed cases of threatening behaviour, violations of a restraining order or had an ongoing issue with substance abuse.
Meredith, who lived in Plano, Texas, had filed for divorce from Spencer and was looking forward to her ‘new beginnings’.
Her mother Debbie Lane told Dallas news station WFAA:
She was a cook and a quite fine one and she loved hosting friends and family.
This was her first opportunity to do it after the divorce and he didn’t take it well.
Spencer was killed by an officer at the scene which brought the total number of deaths to nine, in the ‘Plano massacre’.
Willie Cory Godbolt is currently awaiting trial for all eight murders and had previously been accused of domestic violence as well as being ‘subjected to a restraining order.’
In Spencer Hight’s case, it’s believed to be too early to determine whether the Plano shooting showed early warning signs of his intent for mass murder.
Sarah Tofte, director of research and implementation at Everytown said:
American gun violence is inextricably linked to domestic violence: More than half of American women killed with guns are killed by their current or former partner.
Anyone who cares about domestic violence should care about disarming abusers.
There have been seven mass shootings in the US so far, five of which have been linked to domestic violence according to Everytown.