Bloody Monday of Domestic Violence Leaves 7 Dead
Undated (AP) _ An Oklahoma man killed his ex-wife and two other women then wounded himself when his divorce became final, while an unemployed father in Mississippi shot his estranged wife, fatally stabbed their three young daughters then killed himself, police said.
Authorities said welder Floyd Ware’s shotgun spree in Wynona, Okla., was aimed at the women who had testified at a hearing Monday in which his divorce became final.
Perry Lawrence of Vicksburg, Miss., was apparently distraught after losing his job when he wounded his estranged wife and fatally stabbed their daughters Sunday, police said.
Ware, 50, who had served as a Wynona councilman and sometimes as city marshal, was in critical condition today at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa with a gunshot wound to the head, said nursing supervisor Linda Burns.
He was divorced Monday from Lilly Belle Ware at a hearing in Osage County District Court in Pawhuska. Wynona, a community of 780, is about 30 miles northwest of Tulsa.
″Apparently, he just decided to get a gun and take care of all those who testified against him in the hearing,″ said Osage County Undersheriff Bill Mitchell.
Police said Ware’s former wife, 48, and two witnesses in the divorce hearing, Mary Ann LaBelle, 48, and Alicia Franks, age unknown, died instantly from shotgun wounds to the head in a Wynona business area.
About a block away, another witness, Linda Boggs, 35, was shot in the forehead. She was in stable condition today at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa where she was airlifted after the shooting, Ms. Burns said.
After Mrs. Boggs was shot, Ware ″apparently ran out of ammunition, got back in his vehicle and drove back to the original shooting scene,″ Mitchell said. ″I was the first officer to arrive at the scene, and he was sitting there in his pickup.″
″I ordered him out of the truck and he never said anything, just reached up to his head and fired a .25 automatic,″ Mitchell said.
Ware’s attorney, Jay Byers, said his client was ″involved and fixated″ in the divorce proceeding. ″He was exceedingly wrapped up in the case.″
Russell Hurd, who grew up with Ware in Wynona, said Ware ″kept the town afloat ... he was well liked.″
In Mississippi, Lawrence, 24, had argued with his estranged wife shortly before unleashing his violence on her and their children in Vicksburg, about 40 miles west of Jackson.
Authorities said Lawrence had been fired from his job last week because he and his wife, who worked at the same location, had argued.
Detective Capt. Phil Solomon said Lawrence went to a club Sunday night and ordered his wife, Laverne Jones Lawrence, 24, to leave. ″She told him she would not and he drug her out,″ Solomon said.
″He then knocked her to the ground and opened fire. Witnesses said he fired at her five times from point blank range,″ Solomon said. Mrs. Lawrence was in stable condition today at Vicksburg Hospital, said a night supervisor who would not give her name.
Lawrence then picked his children up from his parents’ house and drove them to Mrs. Lawrence’s parents’ house, where the stabbings occurred, Solomon said.
″The older girl apparently broke away from Lawrence and made it to the front door of her grandparent’s home,″ said Solomon. ″A child inside the house heard her screaming and looked through a window and saw the stabbing on the front porch.″
The dead children were identified by family members as Carswayle Jones, 6, Millicent Lawrence, 4, and April Lawrence, 2.
As Lawrence’s description was being broadcast to police units, officers received word of a shooting at a nearby shopping center parking lot.
″Officers found Perry Lawrence laying in the parking lot with one gunshot wound to the right temple and witnesses at the scene said the shot was self- inflicted,″ Solomon said.
Lawrence died Monday afternoon at the University Medical Center in Jackson.
Daisy Kaiser, Lawrence’s mother, said a note, scribbled by her son last week, was found following the shooting and stated that Lawrence was ″empty inside″ because of the separation from his wife and that he was trying ″to get his head together.″