Local outreach for domestic violence
Victims of domestic violence have access to free services from Forsyth County Family Haven, a nonprofit advocacy center that provides shelter, programs, legal advice and community education to victims and their families.
*Their crisis line is open 24/7 at (770) 887-1121
*Their legal advocacy line is available at (770) 889-6384 Ext. 103
In the aftermath of a deadly shooting Wednesday morning that left a mother, her two young sons and the suspected gunman – her partner – dead and her father injured by multiple gunshot wounds, investigators realized the residence played host to a history of domestic violence.
The entire incident occurred inside the home Wednesday around daybreak, with everyone involved reigning from the same family.
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office deputies were apparently “familiar with the residence.”
They had responded to a domestic call at the house as recently as Tuesday evening, according to Forsyth County Sheriff’s Maj. Rick Doyle. However, neither that nor any previous incident was reported as violent.
Doyle said Tuesday’s dispute was verbal and that deputies “did not see anything that would indicate there was a physical confrontation.”
Rebecca Manning, 37, reportedly assured authorities there was “nothing going on.”
The suspected shooter, 32-year-old Matthew Fields, was apparently not at the house when deputies responded on Tuesday, though the call was in reference to him.
Doyle said Fields did not return to the home until Wednesday to shoot everyone inside.
He apparently called his mother to tell her he had killed his family and prepared to commit suicide. His mother then called 911 from a neighboring county to alert authorities of the situation.
It was not immediately clear whether Manning and Fields were legally married, married by common law, engaged or dating, but Doyle said there are “various indications they had been having relationship issues.”
Those who responded to the house Wednesday were aware of the call made the previous night, Doyle said.
This is the second murder-suicide and third shooting related to domestic violence in July that has affected someone in or connected to Forsyth County.
On July 8, Erin Niccole Jones, a 28-year-old Forsyth County 911 communications officer, was shot to death by her 43-year-old live-in boyfriend at their home on Maple Hill Drive in downtown Dawsonville.
Neither the two young children they had together nor his two kids were home at the time.
On July 17, a 64-year-old woman was arrested after reportedly shooting her 69-year-old husband, Gary Smith, several times.
It was initially reported he made the 911 call and was conscious when emergency personnel arrived to transport him to a hospital for surgery.
Though the three incidents are unrelated, Doyle spoke Wednesday of law enforcement’s role in protecting domestic violence victims.
“We can’t help someone who is denying [help] and not involving us in the process,” Doyle said. “[If they can] get the courage to report it, we can help get the proper help, like a restraining order. That’s just a piece of paper, but we do have other avenues ... When we respond and they say everything is fine and there are no bruises or signs of a struggle or marks, legally we’re limited in what we can do.”
He said domestic violence issues are “difficult” and “unfortunately it’s very common.”
Creative imagery director Micah Green contributed to this story.