Records uncover shooting suspect's escalating violent behavior - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Records uncover day care shooting suspect's escalating violent behavior

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Three gunshots were fired from the parking lot of University of Little Scholars Learning Center. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Three gunshots were fired from the parking lot of University of Little Scholars Learning Center. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
Tasha, a mother of two, said to be in her early 30s, was pronounced dead on the scene. (Photo Source: Facebook) Tasha, a mother of two, said to be in her early 30s, was pronounced dead on the scene. (Photo Source: Facebook)
(Photo Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Office) (Photo Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Office)
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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Records show the victim of a day care shooting had an active restraining order against her husband, before police say he shot and killed her outside University of Little Scholars Learning Center Tuesday morning.

Tasha Thomas, said to be in her early 30s, was pronounced dead when crews arrived to the parking lot on East Raines Road.

Investigators say Charles Thomas left the crime scene and locked himself in his home. Roughly three hours later, he died after shooting himself on the front porch.

Tasha filed a restraining order against Charles. Her family says that she feared for her life and that they were doing their best to help her get out of the relationship.

Records show that Thomas began showing up at different locations where he knew his wife would be, including her church.

In February, Thomas said her husband struck her in the face and hit her repeatedly, after they were joking about another family member's marital issues. On August 20, Thomas walked into the East Raines police precinct and said she noticed her "estranged husband" was following her.

It all escalated August 23, when Charles crashed a baby shower inside Abundant Fellowship Church. He paced up the aisles and yelled at Tasha.

Police tried to chase Thomas, but he sped off and officers were not legally allowed to pursue at such high speeds.

He was arrested Aug. 25 on a $15,000 bond.

"He was brought down here [201 Poplar], he was given a bond, and was able to get together the resources to make that bond," Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said.

Charles was free on bond when he committed Tuesday's violence.

Weirich has a stack of papers on her desk reviewing every detail of the case to see what the justice system can do to make sure this doesn't happen again.

"She did everything that was available to her under the law," she said.

Shelby County Administrator of Crime Victim Services, Anna Whalley, says an order of protection is a useful tool only if the offender fears police and incarceration.

"If somebody violates it [a restraining order], they can be imprisoned for up to 11 months and 29 days," Whalley said.

Records show three times, Tasha refused being taken to a safe haven by police.

"Why should it be on the shoulders of the victim to leave town? To uproot himself or herself from family from loved ones from a support group?" Weirich said.

Experts say a victim's probability of being killed by their abuser increases if he or she moves away. In this case, it's hard to pinpoint what could have been done differently.

Domestic violence experts say violence can escalate, even when police are involved.

"We've had situations where that person gets out of jail and goes right to the victim to harass and stalk," Family Safety Center Director of Client Services Vernita Eddleman said.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Also you can read more about resources here, but please be mindful that your computer usage can be tracked.

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