Four dead in domestic murder/suicide

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Dec. 13, 2013
Contributed
Police say John Lynn, 41, shot and killed Brittany Mills and her two cousins in the area of 190 Pine St. on Saturday, Dec. 7. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

The strained relationship between Brittany Mills and John Lynn came to a tragic ending on Saturday, Dec. 7, after Lynn shot and killed the mother of his 13-month-old son and her two cousins before turning the gun on himself. 

Lynn, 41, of no certain address, shot and killed Mills, 28, and her two cousins, Artara Benson, 46, of Vauxhall, N.J. and Kameisha Mills, 23, of Channing Drive in Manchester in Brittany’s residence at the Dye House Apartments on Pine Street. 

According to Manchester police, Lynn exited the apartment building carrying his son in his arms.  Police received 911 calls around 9:40 p.m. on the night of Saturday, Dec. 7, and due to a quick response time of minute and a half, officers were able to confront Lynn before he could get to his vehicle, police said.

A brief confrontation with police ensued, according to Captain Christopher Davis, at which point Lynn placed the child on the ground before shooting himself.  According to police, at the same time Lynn was reaching for his handgun in his waistband, the responding officer fired a shot but it did not strike Lynn.

Davis said the quick response time, “likely saved the child’s life.”

“Had he been able to leave the scene with the child, I think it could have been a much different situation,” said Davis. 

According to police, the child was unharmed and taken to Manchester Memorial Hospital for an evaluation. Davis said the child is currently living with relatives. 

The shootings are Connecticut’s eighth homicide allegedly stemming from intimate partner violence this year, according to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV). “The tragic deaths of Brittany Mills, Kameisha Mills and Artara Benson indicate the work that still lies ahead of our state,” said CCADV Executive Director Karen Jarmoc on Dec. 9.  “There are warning signs of abusive relationships and risk factors that indicate increased danger. It is incumbent upon all of us to learn what they are as we seek to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable for their actions,” Jarmoc said.

During the past decade in Connecticut, an average 15 homicides resulting from intimate partner violence have occurred each year, according to the CCADV.  

Both Lynn and Brittany were arrested this past June and charged with disorderly conduct, which stemmed from a domestic incident in April that involved, “some pushing and shoving over a cell phone,” said Davis. 

Cecile Enrico, the executive director for the Interval House, said statistics show that domestic violence happens, “in one in four women,” and crosses over all social, racial and economic lines. The Interval House offers support and connections to victims of domestic violence and covers 24 towns in the Greater Hartford area.  Enrico, who said the Interval House worked with 6,000 people last year, recommended that people who might be in a abusive relationship should keep a key someplace where their partner can’t find it and also have some money put away. 

“A lot of times what happens is when there are good periods the victim of domestic violence wants to kind of forget what happens and says, 'oh, everything is wonderful now and it’s going to be great,' and unfortunately very rarely does it stay that way unless major changes are made on both ends,” said Enrico. 

The effects of domestic violence aren’t just limited to the partners involved; it also affects families and children. Enrico said in the case of young children such as the 13-month-old child, even though the child may not have been physically abused they can sense the tension going on. She said the best situation for a child after being removed from the chaotic environment is to be in a calm place where the child feels safe.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or are concerned about a friend or a family member who might be a victim of domestic violence, call the statewide domestic violence hotline at 888-774-2900. Manchester residents can call the Interval House directly at 860-527-0550.  For more information about CCADV, visit www.ctcadv.org.

The shooting incident remains under investigation by Manchester Police, the Hartford State’s Attorney’s Office and the Connecticut State Police Central District Major Crime Squad.


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