Domestic violence call preceded officers killing man in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) -- Police say domestic violence led up to the fatal shooting of James Lewis, 44, by Springfield officers on Sunday. Domestic violence is a problem that people in the community say won't go away.

"Domestic abuse is about power and control," said Brandi Bartel, The Victim Center's executive director. "It's very, very scary and it can be very dangerous. These are some of the most dangerous cases in our community."

The Victim Center helps men, women, and children struggling with any form of abuse.

"The most dangerous time for victims is typically the period when they are trying to leave the offender," said Bartel. "So the first 30, 60, 90 days after they make the decision to leave is the most dangerous for victims in general."

Springfield Police say the shooting on Sunday happened after a 9-1-1 call. They say Lewis threatened to kill his wife and was armed with a gun. Police shot and killed Lewis during a confrontation in Silver Springs Park about 3:25 a.m.

"I actually heard it, heard the gunshots from my bedroom that's right here. So it's literally facing the park," said neighbor Paije Joyce.

Joyce says these problems happen frequently, and says she plans to move.

"There's a lot of shootings around here," said Joyce. "What happens if it hits one of us in our room?"

Court documents show Lewis violated a judge's order of protection last March, and faced several other charges including domestic assault. Court documents also list two of Lewis' previous addresses along the 1400 block of East Lindberg Street and also the 1000 block of North Broadway Avenue. Neighbors in both locations say they never saw, or knew, Lewis.

Bartel says, when it comes to domestic violence, and even restraining orders, it's important for victims to go through a safety planning process.

"So it's important that victims think through, 'Where am I going to go that is safe and confidential such as a local shelter like Harmony House?' (and) 'Where can I put my children where they will be safe?' -- particularly if the victim doesn't have access to their own money, or access to a car or access to a cell phone or access to a lot of resources that a lot of people take for granted. These are such sad circumstances and cases, and it's difficult to talk about, but the reality is there is hope and help out here," said Bartel.

Bartel says any victim of abuse can also reach out to the Victim Center through a hotline: that number is (417) 864-SAFE.