Domestic violence victim has gun taken by police while suspect i - FOX 32 News Chicago

Domestic violence victim has gun taken by police while suspect is free

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CITY OF DETROIT -  Keisha Thomas was married to 42-year-old James Alderidge for four years but after years of physical abuse - she did what most women don't.

She left, they divorced and that's when Thomas says Alderidge began making violent threats to hurt the people closest to her, including her brother and 16-year-old son.

"All I can hear is my nephew saying, 'Somebody shoot him, somebody get him, he's killing my daddy he's killing my daddy,'" Thomas said. "I have a gun. I have a (concealed pistol license).  My gun jammed that's the only reason why I wasn't able to protect him."

"My ex-husband shot my brother eight times, he almost killed him."

Domestic violence never effects just the people involved. It touches entire families, children, mothers, sisters and brothers. And in Detroit -- a city with a well-documented culture of violence and a code of street justice - domestic violence is often deadly.

Last year in Michigan there were 122 homicides.

"My marriage was like hell and that's why I filed for divorce," Thomas said.

The Detroit couple divorced in 2013. Thomas said that is when the threats from him began.

"Every morning I come home he's sitting in front of my house waiting on me or calling my house or sending people down there or looking in my windows," Thomas said. "It's not the first time he pulled a gun on my brother and he stalked me.  I lost a job because of him."
 "I filed personal protection order violations and they gave him probation, and he has continued to harass us."

The  violations are well documented with Detroit Police. But the follow-through on violent confrontations with Thomas' family don't count because they don't involve her. Domestic abuse experts say that's a common tactic.

"I think this situation illustrates how abuse does escalate when a victim chooses to leave their partner," said Emily Matuszczak, senior director of programs at Haven. "And they will use whatever means are available to get back at her and to continue to try and scare her."

But Friday Aug. 1  when Alderidge was spotted in the neighborhood, Thomas' brother and ex-husband began to fight.  Witnesses say Alderidge shot Thomas' brother eight times.

"He has no kidneys, they took his pancreas, they took half of his colon," Thomas said. "He broke his left leg, he has to wear a colostomy bag."

The story gets very complicated. According to the police report, Alderidge was shot in the leg.

A source tells Fox 2 that  it was Thomas' brother who pulled the trigger. But her  family says the gun was fired by someone in the large crowd at the scene.

Thomas also legally carries a weapon which was confiscated as part of the investigation. Now she says she can't protect herself and to make matters worse, Alderidge was released from custody pending charges and he is back on the streets.

"I want him in jail," Thomas said. "I want him to suffer in jail for the rest of his life and think about all the things he has done to hurt people."

Investigators believe it was Thomas' brother who fired the first shot which could lay the ground work for a possible self-defense plea. Even though Thomas' brother was shot eight times, prosecutors say there is not enough evidence to prove assault with intent to commit murder. That is why Alderidge was released.

The case is still under investigation, anyone with information should call Detroit Police at (313) 596-5200.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence, there are places that will help like locally-based Haven (877) 922-1274. The website can be found by clicking here.

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