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GUEST EDITORIAL: Domestic dispute ends with an officer shooting a man

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The Associated Press

The altercation between Chris Cashell and Houston County Sheriff Deputy Jonathan Lewis that led to Cashell’s death didn’t have to happen, but it is an example of the sort of situations deputies, police officers and others in law enforcement are called in to intervene when domestic situations get out of hand.

By all accounts, Cashell was a good provider for his wife and her son by another relationship, but, that’s not the side he exhibited the day he died. Alcohol got in the way of Cashell’s clear thinking and for some reason he didn’t want his wife to leave and slashed her tires to make sure she didn’t. She called the sheriff.

Deputy Lewis walked into a situation feared most by all in law enforcement. Domestic violence calls can quickly turn on a dime and instead of having one angry person, the deputy may be faced with two. That didn’t happen in this case, but for some reason, that God only knows, Cashell, after repeated warnings to drop his weapon, pointed his gun at Deputy Lewis.

Milliseconds later, Deputy Lewis fired four shots hitting Cashell three times. Now, one life ended and another has to live with the thought that he took another person’s life. One life ended and another lives with a memory. Not discounting the loss, but Deputy Lewis didn’t report to work last Monday expecting to take a life that day.

Truth be told, Deputy Lewis’ situation is not unlike what’s faced by law enforcement officers every day, every shift, every hour. Certainly, the profession has its share of bad actors, but the majority just want to live through the day and return to their families, wake up and do it all over again.

However, that said, law enforcement is a specialized tool. You don’t call them unless you absolutely need them. And if you need them, absolutely call, but if you don’t, leave them out of the equation. They would much rather individuals solve their own domestic issues without third party interference. Particularly interference that knows little about the situation and the personalities they might be walking into.

And they would much rather, even when called to domestic disputes, that everyone leave from the altercation alive and well. They want everyone to return to their everyday lives safely — everyone.