Deputies investigate woman's death as domestic violence related

Deputies investigate a woman's death as a domestic violence related incident (Photo by: WLOS staff)

Investigators in Polk County are attributing a self-inflicted, fatal gunshot wound to domestic violence after they say a highway patrol trooper and the mother of his child got into an argument earlier in the day Wednesday.

Deputies with the Polk County Sheriff's Office showed up to the home of the two people, who News 13 is not naming at this time, on Matthew Street around 3:30 Wednesday afternoon.

"As officers investigated the report of domestic violence, they had discovered he also received some scratch marks and had been hit about the face and so they advised him for his own protection and with him being an officer to go get a protection order so things didn't escalate, get out of hand," said Capt. B.J. Bayne with the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

She says a few hours later the trooper called deputies when he noticed his service weapon was missing.

As the deputies were leaving, Bayne says a woman matching the description provided by the man was walking down the street toward the house.

"When officers stopped to speak with her when she was walking back down, she pulled out the weapon and shot herself," said Bayne.

Bayne says it's not clear when she took the gun but it was the gun the trooper had told investigators was missing.

She later died.

With this being domestic violence awareness month, Sheriff Donald Hill is encouraging those in violent situations and relationships, whether verbal or physical, to get help.

"You need to reach out and get some help and get out of it. Eventually it can lead to certain instances, what we're designed with now," he said.

One of those resources available in Polk County is Steps to Hope which offers a 24/7 hotline for victims.

The agency is also hosting its inaugural Domestic Violence Awareness Walk on Saturday from 5-8 at Stearns Park in downtown Columbus.

"You gotta teach people and educate people. That's the key to it, that it's not ok and we're determined and we'll enforce it and we'll enforce it all and try to deter it as much as possible," said Hill.

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