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Shooting victim filed PPO against suspect one week before her murder

Posted at 5:42 PM, Aug 04, 2023

ADRIAN, Mich. (WXYZ) — The victim of a double shooting in Saline had filed a personal protection order against her ex-boyfriend one week before her death, according to court records.

7 Action News obtained the PPO from Lenawee County Circuit. Amber Jo Thomas, 40, submitted the request on July 27, and the court approved it the next day.

Police said Thomas's ex-boyfriend is the man who killed her, and he also shot a male acquaintance who was walking with her.

The 58-year-old suspect had waited outside of Thomas's job in Saline on Thursday and started shooting when she took a smoke break. The suspect was caught about 10 minutes later after a deputy spotted his vehicle.

In the PPO, Thomas stated she was with the suspect for nine years and that those years were filled with "physical and verbal abuse."

She said she's called several law enforcement agencies in that time. Thomas said her ex-boyfriend had taken her phone the night before she filed the PPO on July 26.

She went on to write, "I'm scared. He has stated he was going to kill me several times."

7 Action News spoke with domestic violence victim advocate Christine Watson. She is the executive director for SafeHouse Center in Ann Arbor.

“My reaction is one of sadness, and I think it’s really rooted in that this is a common occurrence for a lot of the people that we serve every single day," Watson said in response to Thomas's PPO statement.

When asked what struggles victims of domestic violence face who've suffered at the hands of their abusers for years, Watson replied, "No, I think it’s a great question. I think that is one of the top questions that we always get asked.”

“There’s a lot of barriers. There’s a lot of obstacles. There’s a lot of factors that play into it and I think as we see in this situation, there’s the ultimate fear of retaliation and the execution death."

Watson added, "And I think that is something that is very real for survivors. Other factors such as financial, housing, support networks — where do they go?”

She said there is help and hope that can be found at organizations like SafeHouse Center.

“Where they can seek shelter, where they can seek support, where they can seek at least a breath of, where they can catch their breath and find an alternative resource,” Watson said.

If you or someone you know needs help getting out of a domestic violence situation, you can find help by calling SafeHouse's 24/7 helpLine at 734-995-5444.