parking lotWhen two people were shot yesterday in the parking lot of an eastern Kentucky college, the knee-jerk reaction of many people was to wonder whether there was some sort of connection to the school (understandably). But as pieces of this tragic puzzle fall into place, it looks more like law enforcement officials' initial hunches -- that the murders were were domestic violence-related -- were correct. Here's what we know so far: The victims were Caitlin Cornett, 20, of Knott County, and her uncle Jackie Cornett, 53. We know that Jackie Cornett's 12-year-old daughter, Taylor Cornett, was wounded and is now in critical condition. We know that the gunman, Dalton Stidham, 21, turned himself in to Kentucky State Police after the shooting and has since been charged two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Stidham and Cornett were meeting in the parking lot to exchange their 2-year-old son, Jaydein, for visitation (Jaydein, thankfully, was not injured).

When I heard the couple was meeting in a parking lot to make the custody exchange AND that Caitlin Cornett brought her uncle along, I thought, Uh-oh, that girl was scared of her ex. And as it turns out, she was scared of Stidham -- scared enough to try to obtain an emergency domestic violence order against him in November, according to her sister Brittany.

So sad, so unnecessary. Caitlin knew she was in danger, she tried to get help, and for whatever reason ... she didn't get the protection she needed. Now her son is virtually orphaned (his dad will more than likely be spending a long time in jail), a 12-year-old girl's life is on the line, and two innocent people are dead.

Do you think domestic violence needs to be taken more seriously?

 

Image via Steven Orr/Flickr