Assistant Sheriff Tim Morgan urges victims of domestic violence to receive help.
Morgan spoke about domestic violence as he discussed Thursday's shocking double homicide. An Easley woman, Sandra Smith, and her 15 year old son, Daniel Gabriel Smith, were shot and killed by Sandra's husband, William D. Thomas, who then killed himself.
It appears that the shootings stemmed from an ongoing domestic situation, Morgan said.
“This is such a tragedy not only for this family but for our entire community, all the kids he went to school with, his classmates,” Morgan said. “People that are in domestic violence situations sometimes feel like there's no way out, but if you don't think enough of yourself to get out, please get out for your children. Don't leave them in that type of situation.”
Morgan urged victims of domestic violence not to give up hope.
“Even though you feel like there might not be avenues out, there's all types of people that will help you,” he said. “Call law enforcement, we have victims advocates. There are a number of groups that will help in situations like this to prevent what happened here.”
Morgan said abuse victims often go back to their abusers.
“Quite often they blame themselves,” he said. “They say, 'I can't survive financially, I have no place to go,'” Morgan said. “So many things go through their minds. We always seem to fear the worst, that we can't survive. But really, there's a lot of resources out there. You can make it. You can survive.
“There's no easy road,” he continued. “Any road you choose is going to be difficult – but this is the worst road. Choose a road that's going to be better than this. Get some help.”
Even after pressing charges against their abusers, victims often talk themselves into dropping the charges, Morgan said.
“Quite often, six months or a year later, they think, 'Well, it really wasn't that bad, and maybe it really was my fault, maybe I complain too much, or maybe I did this or that,'” Morgan said. “I guess we all want to see the best in others, especially those we love and have relationships with, and they say, 'Honey, I didn't mean to do it, I'm going to do better, I'm sorry, please forgive me.'
Abusers often tell the victims that they're to blame for the abuse.
“They say, 'If you'd only said this or if you'd only done this, I wouldn't have reacted like that,'” Morgan said. “It's always something else. And it'll come up again. Situations rarely get better. Behaviors rarely change and all too often it ends in some type of terrible tragedy.”
Morgan said law enforcement sees these situations “way too often.”
“This is terrible for this quiet community, I know everyone's upset about it,” Morgan said. “Partly about the family, but especially for these kids who are coming to lay flowers beside the name. They're having to deal with these issues when they should be having fun on a Friday, getting ready for a ball game.”