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Military vet tried to escape abuser for years before he shot her, had police standoff, family says

Police caution tape.(Dreamstime/TNS)

Michelle Coleman’s colleagues at Keesler Medical Center got worried when she failed to show up for work Thursday because they knew she had long been the target of domestic violence.

Her colleagues did some digging and soon told the family the 43-year-old Air Force veteran, licensed practical nurse and mother of two had been the shot several times at her home on Brookstone Drive in St. Martin, her relatives Stacy Alexander, Judy Thomas and Erica Harris said.

Her alleged longtime abuser and shooting suspect Vinet Williams Moore, 41, then holed himself up in the house for over six hours while sheriff’s deputies negotiated his surrender. Two children in the home, ages 9 and 15, had escaped to safety through a first-floor window.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the home after receiving 911 calls reporting the shooting, exchanging gunfire with the suspect, though he was not injured. The family said the children are believed to be among those who called for help.

After deputies got there a little after 7 a.m., a deputy got Coleman out of the home and into an ambulance to Singing River Health System’s Ocean Springs hospital. From there, she was airlifted to USA Hospital in Mobile with serious injuries.

“He shot her several times,” Ezell said. “It’s pretty serious.”

Deputies have charged Moore with one count each of aggravated domestic violence and aggravated assault, though at least one of the charges could be upgraded to attempted murder, Ezell said.

Moore is currently jailed in Jackson County without bond pending an initial court appearance.

A history of abuse

For years, Coleman’s cousins said, she had allegedly been abused by Moore.

She had tried everything to avoid him, the family said, even living away from her St. Martin home for some time.

She had also gotten a protective order to keep Moore away, but her family said that did nothing to stop him from allegedly coming after her again and again.

Most recently, her cousins said, Moore had kicked in a door to the home and assaulted Coleman. She had broken ribs as a result, her cousins said, and Moore was wanted on an domestic violence assault charge but hadn’t been arrested.

“They were supposed to be looking for him, but they didn’t find him, I guess,” Alexander said. “They (apparently) weren’t looking for him because he wouldn’t have had the chance to come over here and do this early in the morning with the kids in the house.

“Like, he did this multiple times and it just seems like they can’t seem to catch him.”

Ezell has deputies are researching the last alleged incident to confirm whether the report is on record.

Sheriff confirms previous domestic violence calls

Ezell confirmed deputies had responded to several reports of domestic violence at the address, and that previously Moore had left the home by the time deputies got there.

He also confirmed that deputies had served Moore with restraining orders, known as a protection orders in Mississippi, but said he was still checking to find out if the orders had expired.

“We’ve gone out there, we’ve dealt with him, and we are going to do whatever it is we need to do,” Ezell said. “From what I understand, one of the protection orders may have expired.”

In addition, Ezell said later Thursday, authorities are continuing other research to collect additional information the Sun Herald requested.

How to get help for domestic violence on MS Coast

If you are victim of domestic violence, consider reaching out to domestic violence groups who offer shelter and support to the abused and other services.

Gulf Coast Center for Non-violence:

— 24/7 Crisis Line: 800-800-1396

— Harrison County: 228-435-1968

— Jackson County (Adrienne’s House): 228-762-8267

— Hancock County: 228-252-1999

— Northcutt Legal Clinic: 228-864-7144

— Pine Belt Legal Clinic: 601-705-0139


(c) 2021 The Sun Herald

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