Lexington County home invasion puts spotlight on scourge of domestic violence in the Midlands
LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The numbers are putting a spotlight on the scourge of domestic violence in the Midlands.
Earlier this week in Lexington County, deputies say Jamal Walker shot and killed his ex-wife, Dominque Bolen Walker, while their nine-year-old son was inside the house.
According to investigators, he invaded the home, took her life, shot at a responding deputy, who is expected to be okay, and then was killed after fleeing the scene and getting in a shootout with law enforcement.
This happened in the Rocky Springs subdivision, near Rocky Creek Elementary.
Sara Barber, the head of SCCADVASA, the statewide organization that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, said it is important for people to be aware of the warning signs, know what resources are available, and believe someone if they say they are in danger.
The most recent statewide data shows that 57 people lost their lives in domestic violence-related homicides in 2021.
“I think it’s horrifying,” Barber said. “Sometimes data can make us numb to the fact that these are people, these are people who are neighbors, and that the amount of loss that spirals out from that immediate murder to impact children, neighbors, communities, law enforcement, this is a not an isolated crime.”
In the Prismatic Way incident, the couple’s son is now parentless.
County data also shows disturbing trends.
In Lexington County, there were six domestic violence-related deaths in 2021, seven last year, and seven to this point in 2023.
That is according to the Lexington County Coroner’s Office.
The Richland County Coroner’s Office says five people have lost their lives due to domestic violence this year.
“I think we’re seeing a continuation of the pattern in South Carolina, which is we have high levels of domestic violence and very high levels of domestic violence homicide,” Barber said. “I don’t think we’ve seen any change in that, and it is just an ongoing toll of violence and grief.”
In the case this week, Bolen Walker indicated that she was in imminent danger.
She filed for an order of protection with Lexington County Family Court, which would have compelled her ex-husband to stay away from her.
That was on September 1.
A court date was scheduled for September 15 -- within the period required by state law – but she was murdered before that hearing took place.
“When women tell you that they’re in danger of being killed, you should believe them,” Barber said. “They know when that danger is escalating. She did seek help and unfortunately, the system was not fast enough to respond to her request.”
The Rocky Springs neighborhood, which has been described by longtime resident Mark Teta as a family, is coming together to support Bolen Walker’s family and her son during this time.
Through his work as a New York Police Department detective, Teta worked on several domestic violence cases but has not experienced any this close to home.
“It’s the silent killer, you never know what happens with your neighbors behind closed doors,” he said. “The families have to deal with it, and now we all have to deal with the aftermath because part of our family is gone.”
The neighborhood has organized a prayer vigil for this weekend, which will include a tribute from the music ministry team at the Harvest Church and a candlelight procession.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church will also hold a prayer service for residents.
Barber said that while many people equate domestic abuse with direct physical violence, emotional abuse, stalking, and encouraging increased isolation from family and friends are all warning signs to watch for.
Sistercare is a local nonprofit that provides services for victims of abuse in the Midlands.
They have 24/7 services, offer counseling and shelter if needed, and can connect people with legal resources to navigate dangerous situations.
Survivors of domestic violence can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.
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