Hours after protection order, couple killed in murder-suicide

Father and daughter witness shooting outside Dayton store: ‘They were no more than two feet apart.’

A woman sought and received a protection order Friday against a man as their 10-year relationship was ending. Less than 72 hours later, he shot and killed her and turned the gun on himself, Dayton police said.

Donna Ruth Brown, 45, obtained the temporary protection order Friday against 62-year-old Dennis Haggin, who Sunday afternoon shot and killed Brown then himself outside the Family Dollar, 440 N. James H. McGee Blvd., according to Dayton Police Lt. Jason Hall.

Hall said temporary protection orders are important tools for victims of domestic violence, but “nothing is foolproof.”

“Domestic-related violence is a huge problem. It’s a huge priority for the Dayton Police Department,” Hall said. “A temporary protection order is just one piece of the puzzle. it’s just one tool that can be used to try to keep people safe. The other part of that puzzle is a valid safety plan.”

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Victims of domestic violence in the Dayton area can reach out to the Artemis Domestic Violence Center (937-461-HELP) or the YWCA Dayton (937-222-SAFE), both of which provide services.

The Dayton Daily News obtained a copy of Brown’s temporary protection order, which stipulates that Haggin was not permitted to contact her and it required that he relinquish any firearms he owns.

“The initial investigation reveals they’ve been in a romantic relationship for approximately 10 years that was coming to an end,” Hall said.

Hall said Haggin was served the protection order on Friday. Hall said typically the sheriff’s office serve temporary protection orders, and it’s the responsibility of the person who is the target of the protection order to make an appointment to give up any firearms to the local police department.

The YWCA can help victims develop safety plans that are specific to their circumstances, according to Tia Lurie, shelter/operations manager at the YWCA Dayton.

Lurie said the YWCA’s safety planning services involve looking at individual circumstances and determining “what are the best next steps for that individual.” Victims need to change their daily routines and learn to be “situationally aware,” Lurie said.

“We strongly believe that it can be helpful for those fleeing domestic violence to reach out for help in some way,” Lurie said. “(A safety plan) can help that person think of their safety in a different way. We would really encourage anybody who is feeling unsafe to reach out.”

Lurie added that temporary protection orders can be effective at preventing violence, but the YWCA has also advocated for change in how protection orders are enforced, particularly those that include an order to relinquish firearms.

Sunday’s violence was witnessed by Jay Webb and his 15-year-old daughter. Webb, who called 911 about 4:50 pm. to report the incident, told the Daily News what he saw.

Webb said he was driving by the store when he nearly struck a woman as she ran across the street. He said he and his daughter turned to look at what the woman was running from and saw a man and a woman apparently arguing outside the store’s front door. Webb said in that moment they saw the man draw a gun and shoot the woman, then turned the gun on himself.

“They were no more than two feet apart,” Webb said. “As soon as he shot her point-blank range, he screamed something and turned the gun on himself.”

Webb said seeing the violence has traumatized his daughter.

“She’s still real shaken up. She barely slept last night,” he said. “She said every time she closes her eyes, she sees it happen again.”

Alberta Boyd lives next door to where Brown lived. Boyd said Brown would often sit and talk, and her children would come by to say, “Hi.”

“Donna was good people. Friendly. Good friend … Always givin’ to people. All the time. Good friend. She cared about people. I loved Donna,” Boyd said.

Robin Jones said she knew Brown and is friends with Brown’s twin sister, Dawn.

Jones said she called Brown’s sister after she heard the news and extended her condolences to the family.

“It’s just tragic … I would of never thought in a million years that would happen to Donna,” Jones said.

The Family Dollar on James H. McGee Boulevard was closed Monday. The store will re-open “for normal business hours very soon,” according to a statement provided by Dollar Tree Inc., the parent company of Family Dollar.

“We are saddened by the incident that occurred on Sunday afternoon in the parking lot of one of our Dayton store locations. We are cooperating fully with the investigation by local law enforcement,” the statement reads.


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