Today In Mississippi, a gunman walked into a bank shot two customers and then took his employee wife out of the bank, killed her and then committed suicide. The comment from the police chief is rather disturbing to me.
"It wasn't a bank robbery. It was a domestic situation," McComb police Chief Billie Hughes told the Enterprise-Journal of McComb.
These two people were divorced. But this tragedy is no different than a stranger comming in and committing a serious crime. To label the bank shooting as "a domestic situation" allows the murder rate figures in that county and within the state to be reduced.
Sorry, Chief, but with all due respect, this was a man out of control and this crime was a murder. Your words to place the crimes in a neat little box you can check only dimishes the importance of the event. This is not a sneeze in your handkerchief.
It is wonderful to make the community feel at ease and those who are patrons of the bank feel a sigh of relief to know that "It was just a domestic".
But you do a terrible diservice when you label random acts of violence to all victims who fall prey to murder.
According to the Associated Press Wires:
Pike County Coroner Percy Pittman identified the shooter as Robert Lanham. The others killed in the attack were Lanham’s former wife, Rachel J. Lanham, bank employee Ronnie Larrimore and customer James Frederick Fayard, all of McComb.Initial reports said Rachel Lanham was likely shot and dumped out of the vehicle on U.S. Highway 51. However, Pittman believes she may have been trying to get out of the car and was ejected when it hit a tree.Robert Lanham then died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after apparently shooting himself while driving, authorities said.The McComb Enterprise-Journal newspaper reported that court records showed the Lanhams married in 1999 and divorced in August 2007, citing irreconcilable differences.Rachel Lanham, who worked at the bank as a financial adviser, and Larrimore were dating, according to the newspaper. Robert Lanham had reportedly made a recent threat to harm Larrimore.Larrimore, 38, was the father of two young boys.Heather Lamb, who used to work with Larrimore at an insurance agency, said he was a ‘‘great dad.’’‘‘Real active. An upstanding guy in the community,’’ Lamb said. ‘‘An overall great guy, and those are hard to come by.’’Police say Fayard, who had served in the Army and Navy before working offshore, was killed when he tried to prevent the gunman from taking Rachel Lanham hostage.‘‘He would help anybody who needed it,’’ said Fayards mother, Geneva McGehee Lamana.For a time police blocked off the area around the bank and told people to stay inside.Hughes said the armed man walked inside the bank shortly after 11 a.m., fatally shot Fayard and Larrimore before fleeing with his wife in a truck.While police were at the bank, Hughes said, officers received a call that the ex-wife’s body had been found along the highway near Fernwood, about four miles south of McComb.Police were also told of a one-vehicle accident in Magnolia, a few more miles south on the highway. They found Robert Lanham fatally wounded. Hughes said a handgun was found with the man’s body.The gunman died later in the day at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in McComb.Hughes said McComb police were being assisted by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the Pike County Sheriff’s Department, the Magnolia Police Department and the state crime lab.He said no other bank employees were harmed but were shaken by the shootings.