Residents were horrified by a nightmarish situation in the Coalton area Tuesday, as a woman was shot multiple times by her ex-husband, who was then shot and killed during a standoff with police.
Almost as troubling as the tragedy itself was the realization that Tuesday's situation was one in a line of deadly incidents in Randolph County this year.
Those events have included the fatal shooting of an elderly woman in Kerens, allegedly by her husband. Residents also were shocked by the shooting of a state trooper near one of the county's high schools, and the fatal stabbing of a student outside another.
The sheer number of violent incidents we've seen in Randolph County this year is a cause for community concern, but it must also be a motivation for change as we enter 2013.
Not to say there was anything anyone could have done to prevent the Coalton tragedy, but these days we all have a heightened responsibility to look out for our neighbors.
Law enforcement officials urge residents who see signs of a situation turning violent to report the information. Don't feel as if you're intruding, they advise. You could actually be saving a life.
Information can be reported by calling 911, or calling the West Virginia State Police, local sheriff's departments or city police departments.
There are many resources and support systems for victims of violence:
- The Domestic Abuse Hotline can be reached at 800-799-7233.
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline can be reached at 800-656-HOPE.
- The Boys Town National Hotline, dealing with bullying, can be called at 800-448-3000.
For all those who have been harmed in incidents like Tuesday's, we must move past the shock and horror and learn how to prevent such nightmares in our future.