Tragedy in Tennessee During Parenting Time Exchange
The father of a 4-year-old girl is dead following a shooting during what was supposed to be a parenting time exchange of the child. The incident occurred at a Shell gas station in East Memphis, Tennessee. While it is yet unclear what may have led to the fatal shooting, the tragic outcome highlights the need for courts in every state to be aware of potentially volatile parenting situations whenever possible.
Unusual Dropoff Location
According to reports from local news outlets, the victim was a 29-year-old man and father of a 4-year-old little girl. He was reportedly dropping the girl off to her mother—the man’s ex-wife—for a relatively routine parenting time exchange. The man’s family, however, claims that the choice of location was not normal, saying that his ex-wife typically would come to his house to pick up the girl.
Reports also indicate that the shooter was an off-duty officer of the Memphis Police Department who was on hand to witness the exchange. Initial reports listed the off-duty officer as an acquaintance of the ex-wife, almost suggesting he was there for her protection. It has since been discovered the officer is, in fact, engaged to the ex-wife, making him a bit more than a third-party observer.
Investigators say that there were at least two guns on the scene, one belonging to the officer and another found near the man’s body. They have not confirmed whether the second gun was fired during the incident. The officer has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Lessons to Be Learned
In any situation involving shared parenting time for a divorced or estranged couple, it is vital for the court, as well as the parents, to be distinctly aware of potential dangers. It is easy, however, for a court to remain focused on the safety of the child, sometimes paying less attention to concerns between the parents. Illinois law grants a court the discretion to order that parenting time exchanges must take place in a public setting or at a specific location. The city of Chicago, for example, maintains several sites offering supervised visitation—now called parenting time—and exchanges, helping to ensure the safety of both children and adults. Such requirements and centers are especially important in cases where domestic violence is alleged or proven to be a problem.
If you are currently sharing parenting time but have concerns regarding your safety or that of your child during exchanges, contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney. At The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates, we understand the seriousness of the situation, and we are ready to provide the help you need. Call 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation today.