One in Four…

Raising awareness about issues related to domestic & dating violence

Tragedy in Apex: A Case Study in Grief, and Domestic Violence February 14, 2011

Wake Co. Sheriff's deputies arrested F. John Evans last Wednesday, for allegedly shooting his wife. According to the victim's sister, the couple were in the process of ending their marriage, and the victim had already taken steps towards leaving the relationship.

On February 3, 2011, an Apex man was charged with first-degree murder, after a confusing and tragic episode that led to his hospitalization and the death of his wife.

On a recording of the 911 call, a man (F. John Evans) can be heard saying, “She shot me,” in reference to his wife, Donna Evans, who was found dead at the scene.  Initially, Mr. Evans reported that he had been shot in the stomach by his wife, who later turned the gun upon herself.

However, sheriff’s investigators were immediately suspicious of John Evans’ story on the day of the shooting, when they found that his wife had been shot twice, according to a search warrant application unsealed late last week by a Wake County superior court judge.  And authorities later arrested Mr. Evans after his release from the hospital, following an autopsy report conducted by the NC Medical Examiner’s Office, which concluded that both shots would’ve been fatal, and thus highly unlikely to have been self-inflicted.

As tragic and senseless as this violent episode is, it nevertheless serves to underscore the reality and prevalence of domestic violence–and in particular, the dangers faced by many women experiencing domestic violence, particularly while making preparations to leave.  According to Donna Evans’ sister, Dale Tulloch, the couple’s marriage was ending.  Indeed, Tulloch told the investigators that her sister had already begun taking steps to facilitate her exit, such as placing important documents and other personal property in a safe deposit box at a local bank.  Sadly, Mrs. Evans was unable to make her exit, before tragedy struck.

This tragedy underscores an unfortunate reality that many victims of domestic violence face–the reality that even if a victim recognizes their relationship is abusive, and even if a victim wants to leave a relationship, the very act of leaving is itself incredibly stressful, and can sometimes be more terrifying (and dangerous) than the relationship abuse itself.

In light of this, we at FVPC never encourage a victim to leave a relationship until they ready to do so.  And even after a victim has made the decision to leave, we offer extensive counseling and safety planning services, advising victims on protective measures and steps they can take to help keep themselves, and their family, safe and secure during their transition.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, you can reach us on our 24-hour hotline at (919) 929-7122.  And if would like more information about safety planning, identifying abuse, and ways you can help protect and assist the victims of domestic violence, visit our website at


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