Man charged with killing wife at Applebee's

Police say 18-year-old daughter, 40 others witnessed shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Police say 44-year-old Sheridan Veney fired five shots at his estranged wife inside the Applebee's restaurant on Lane Avenue on Sunday night, killing her.

Sgt. Shawn Coarsey with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said that Veney entered the restaurant about 7:47 p.m. His wife, 42-year-old Lisa Veney, got up from the table to leave, he followed her to the door and shot her.

She was taken to UF Health at Jacksonville, but died of her injuries.

Police say Veney (mug shot, below) stood by and waited inside the restaurant for police to show up. There were about 40 people inside the restaurant when it happened, according to JSO.

The couple's 18-year-old daughter, who is in the military station in North Carolina and was in town for a visit, witnessed the shooting but was not injured. She went to the hospital and was with her mother when she died.

"The suspect was meeting his daughter there for dinner," JSO Assistant Chief Chris Butler said.

Facebook photo

Lisa Freeman Veney

"The victim (pictured) returned to the restaurant and they had a disturbance or an altercation inside the restaurant. She got up from the table to leave. (The) suspect followed her to the door, at which time he fired at her."

Friends say Lisa Veney was a great mother and the biggest Jacksonville Sharks fan they knew, but some were aware she was having a difficult time in her marriage.

A neighbor who said she knows the family pretty well told Channel 4 the couple split up about a year ago and the husband went into to state of depression, but he never expected this. Police said the husband and wife were living in different places.

"They were just a real sweet family, it just really devastates me, to think something like this can happen," said Linda Dennison, who lives across the street. She said the Veneys also had a son.

Lisa's friends said they were having a tough time dealing with what happened and couldn't sleep after they found out.

"Shock, really. I went numb," Sharks PA announcer and close friend Joshua Jackson said. "Her kids were her life. Her family was her life. She was just really Christian oriented and really just loved life and loved everything about it."

"She always had a smile on her face, whatever problems she had, she never really showed it," said Jackson. "She always had that smile on her face and every time I saw her she had a smile and a hug and an encouraging word."

Another friend said both Lisa and Sheridan were military veterans. 

On a Facebook page for the Jacksonville Sharks, a team spokesman wrote "Lisa Freeman Veney will be sorely missed by all. Our condolences go out to her family. She loved the Sharks and we loved her."

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Sheridan Veney

According to police, Sheridan Veney has admitted to the shooting. He was booked into the Duval County jail charged with murder. He was being held Monday night without bond.

A check of court records found Veney has no criminal history locally, but was arrested twice in Maryland in the mid-90s -- once for battery against Lisa.

In civil court, Lisa Veney filed child support proceedings against him in 1996, but dropped them a year later. 

Over the summer, Deutsche Bank began foreclosure proceedings on the couple's home, and friends say Sheridan was sinking into depression.

Lisa Veney latest victim of domestic violence

It's domestic incidents like this that the CEO at Hubbard House, Ellen Siler, said happens time and time again.

"There were 6,970 domestic violence police reports in Jacksonville last year," said Siler. "If we have that many people calling the police, there are two or three times that number who are not calling us."

FDLE showed last year Duval County had the second highest number of domestic violence related murders, only behind Miami-Dade. There were 15 murders in Duval, seven in St. Johns and five in Clay County. 

Police are still investigating what happened at the Applebee's over the weekend -- why Sheridan snapped and decided to take his wife's life. It's something the Hubbard House hopes to put an end to.

"Sometimes a person can do all they can to keep themselves safe," said Siler. "They can take all the precautions they want and sometimes it just isn't enough."

The Applebee's where the incident happened remained closed. Contractors were installing new windows and doing various repairs.

Corporate spokesman Dan Smith told reporter Vic Micolucci that the company was working closely with police. He extended his deepest condolences toward the family of the woman killed.

In August, 2 people were shot and injured outside another Westside Applebee's, at 103rd Street and Blanding Boulevard. Police have not announced any arrests.

Police say a man asked for money, and the group of people gave him a couple dollars, but apparently he wanted more.

The restaurant closed at 2 a.m. but police say a group of people continued to hang out.  Officers say a man walked up to the group and asked for money. After being given $2, investigators say the man started to walk away, but then turned around and showed a pistol.

They say he then demanded the group's wallets and phones. The people in the group said they didn't have any more money, and one person in the group stood up. Police say that person was shot in the chest, and another person, still sitting on the bench, was shot in the chin.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.