While appearing in court Monday, June 3, a Michigan man accused of shooting his wife to death was nearly attacked by the woman’s son.
Vashon Flowers, 46, is being charged with open murder for the May 19 shooting of Jamie Thomas-Flowers, 50, at her home in Muskegon Heights, Michigan, reported MLive. An open murder charge means he could end up facing either first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or even manslaughter charges.
According to Muskegon Heights Police Chief Joseph E. Thomas Jr., the suspect kicked in the door and shot his wife several times around 6:30 a.m. on the morning of May 19, MLive reported.
Approximately four hours before the incident occurred, police were called to the home to mitigate an argument the couple was having over cigarette smoking. At that time the husband agreed to leave, but later returned.
The victim, Jamie Thomas-Flowers, was reportedly on the phone with police at the time of the shooting. Police say she was shot four times in the torso with a handgun. The suspect then fled on foot but later turned himself in to Muskegon Heights police.
The Attempted Attack in the Courtroom
The video from MLive shows the victim’s son, London Thomas, jumping up from his seat and leaping over a courtroom barrier, at which point he ran towards the suspect, who at the time was seated in a jurors box, in an attempt to attack him.
Thomas was quickly apprehended by courtroom police and then arrested.
According to police, Thomas was later brought before Muskegon County District Judge Raymond Kostrzewa where he was held in civil contempt of court and barred from any future proceedings in the courtroom.
The suspect was charged as a habitual offender, earlier convictions include carrying a concealed weapon, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and assault with a dangerous weapon.
Facts About Crime in the United States
Violent crime in the United States has fallen sharply over the past 25 years, according to both the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) (pdf).
The rate of violent crimes fell by 49 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI’s UCR, which only reflects crimes reported to the police.
The violent crime rate dropped by 74 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the BJS’s NCVS, which takes into account both crimes that have been reported to the police and those that have not.
The FBI recently released preliminary data for 2018. According to the Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January to June 2018, violent crime rates in the United States dropped by 4.3 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2017.
While the overall rate of violent crime has seen a steady downward drop since its peak in the 1990s, there have been several upticks that bucked the trend.
Between 2014 and 2016, the murder rate increased by more than 20 percent, to 5.4 per 100,000 residents, from 4.4, according to an Epoch Times analysis of FBI data. The last two-year period that the rate soared so quickly was between 1966 and 1968.
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.