MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - According to experts, Tennessee ranks sixth nationally for women killed by men, and 56 percent of all local violent crime is domestic violence. In addition, Shelby County has seen an increase in domestic violence homicides from 30 in 2015 to 32 in 2016.
One of the tragedies of domestic violence hit Thursday morning, when two sisters were shot and killed in Hickory Hill.
Memphis Police Department said officers were called to the area of Shallow Wood Drive and Pathways Circle—not far from the Hickory Ridge Mall—for a shooting in the area just after 2 a.m.
Both victims were found on the ground outside the home. One was in the street and one was on the front step.
George Earl Muhammad, the husband of one of the victims, has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of the two sisters. He is facing two counts of first-degree murder.
Two sisters, 19-year-old Kayla Brown and 26-year-old Kendall Brown, were found dead when police arrived. Both sisters were graduates of Overton High School, had big hearts and big dreams.
Police said Muhammad turned himself in about an hour later.
According to the affidavit, Muhammad admitted to the killings. He said he came home early to find his wife with another man.
Muhammad said he got into a struggle with his wife over a handgun, and when he gained control over the gun, he blacked out. Muhammad said he doesn't remember what happened, but that he apparently had killed his wife and sister-in-law.
Muhammad said he didn't even remember how he got to the police station, nor did he remember what he did with the gun.
The victims' father, Jasper Moten, said there were five children, aged 2-12, inside the home when the shooting happened.
"We made them all go upstairs and get in bed and don't come down until this is all over with," Moten said. "They know what's going on, but I ain't told them nothing but what they already know."
A police report filed in January 2012 reflects that Kendall said her husband "struck her several times and pushed her to the ground" after an argument, despite her being six months pregnant at the time.
The report said he even threatened to kill her.
Her father said it's a harsh reality and maybe a lesson for other victims.
"It should be reported as soon as it happens," he said. "Maybe we can get a handle on it and stopped."
Moten said if you are being abused, it should be reported as soon as possible. He said it might have saved his daughters' lives.
"You need to get out of it and leave it alone as soon as it starts, or it's going to get worse," Moten said.
Muhammad, has a prior arrest record for aggravated burglary and domestic assault.
"I know I miss them already and just the idea that I can't call them or go and see them," Moten said.
Kayla was attending the University of Memphis. Her sister was a graduate of U of M and was on track to be a lawyer.
Moten said he cannot forgive Muhammad for the shooting.
"No, I will never forgive him. That's out of the question," he said.
Getting help for domestic violence
"It's important to get help," Jordan Howard, with the Family Safety Center, said.
Howard is a domestic violence survivor and now works to help victims.
"The number one indicator that you'll be a victim of a domestic violence homicide is if they've ever pointed a firearm at you and immediately after that is if they've ever strangled you."
Below is a list of shelters and resources if you are looking for a way out:
Below are also warning signs and red flags provided by the national hotline:
- Telling you that you can never do anything right
- Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away
- Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members
- Embarrassing or shaming you with put-downs
- Controlling every penny spent in the household
- Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
- Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
- Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
- Preventing you from making your own decisions
- Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away your children
- Preventing you from working or attending school
- Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
- Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
- Pressuring you to have sex when you don't want to or do things sexually you're not comfortable with
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol
To learn more about abuse, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline's website. Also, you can call the Family Safety Center Memphis for help at 901-222-4400.