6 shot in 3 days: JSO sees trend of increased domestic incidents around holidays

How to spot domestic violence red flags

A Callahan home became the scene of a triple murder Wednesday morning. Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said a man shot and killed two women and a man, and neighbors believe it’s his family.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Callahan home became the scene of a triple murder Wednesday morning. Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said a man shot and killed two women and a man, and neighbors believe it’s his family.

A day and a half earlier, inside a home on Jacksonville’s northside, investigators said Otis Anderson Sr. shot and injured his wife, a corrections officer, and killed his son, University of Central Florida football standout Otis Anderson Junior.

Also on Monday, a Brentwood house was wrapped in crime scene tape. Jacksonville police tell News4JAX a woman shot and killed a man inside.

That’s three domestic violence incidents in three days with a total of six people shot. The three suspected shooters are in custody.

“We do know in this profession that this time of year brings a lot of stressors to people and to families as a whole,” said Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Tami Rush, a 14-year veteran who worked in the homicide unit.

Rush has seen similar scenarios from calls over the years. They increase during the holidays.

“People may have lost a job, this time of year losing a family member or friend can bring different emotions. Just the stress of work goes on in this time of year,” she said.

All three cases from this week are under investigation and Rush can’t comment on active cases. However, while every domestic case is different, she noted in general, there are often warning signs.

“A change in behavior,” she said. “If someone is becoming secluded and not wanting to do their normal activities or be around their normal people, those are all things to keep an eye out for.”

Many people are scared to ask for help. They’re frightened to turn in a loved one. It’s important to note there are different options and every county has free resources that could save a life.

“We absolutely have seen an increase in need, our hotline numbers have gone up,” said Quigley House CEO Jennifer Rodriguez.

The Quigley House is Clay County’s domestic violence and sexual assault center.

Rodriguez said before the pandemic, her center’s staff fielded 1,250 calls a year. Now, during the pandemic, she said the center provided services to 13,000.

“So they’re reaching out to us more frequently, which is a good thing,” she said. “But I also think that the pandemic has created an overwhelming sense of loss and fear. And whenever those two things collide, perpetrators feel a loss of control.”

From politics to the economy, COVID-19 and vaccines, she said many are angry and substance abuse makes it worse.

We do everything from safety planning to providing shelter, we walk survivors through the process, whether that’s filing a legal report with law enforcement, whether that’s attempting to file an injunction for protection, which might not be the best answer for everyone, truthfully,” she noted. “But we help people weigh out their options.”

It’s all to stop domestic violence from happening in the future.

If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of domestic violence or abuse, there are also other resources available:

  • The Florida Domestic Violence Hotline, which will direct you to the nearest shelter, is 1-800-500-1119
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24 hours a day. The number is 1-800-799-SAFE
  • The Micah’s Place (Nassau County) Domestic Violence Help Hotline is 904-225-9979
  • The Hubbard House (Duval County) can be reached by dialing 904-354-3114
  • The Quigley House (Clay County) hotline is 904-284-0061. https://www.quigleyhouse.org/
  • The Betty Griffin Center (St. Johns County) can be reached at 904-824-1555

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.