Violating a restraining order

Allegedly Matthew O’Connor was due in court on Wednesday on charges that he violated a restraining order against him making contact with his ex- wife. He won’t make it to court.

Allegedly Matthew O’Conner broke into his ex-wife’s apartment at 6:30 am. After pointing his gun at his two daughters and his 3 year old granddaughter, they fled the home. One of the daughters started to go back. But she heard shots fired.  

When police arrived they found the bodies of Matthew O’Conner and his ex-wife both dead from gunshots wounds. Police believe that O’Conner shot his wife then turned the gun on himself. O’Conner had a history of possessing explosives, so a bomb sniffing dog was used in the apartment and found two smoke bombs.

A desire for control is often very apparent in domestic violence incidents. And anything that threatens that control will often be met with rage and/or an attempt to regain control. Sometimes through “wooing”  with gifts and promises. And sometimes with force.

A partner leaving means a loss of control. And a retraining order means an attempt to prevent re-establishing control. It can/will cause additional anger, and to some will present a challenge. As long as the partner thinks the restraining order will protect them, they will resist control- so in order to attempt to control again, in order to respond to the restraining order- they will seek ways to get around the order. As has already been noted, the restraining order is merely a tool for prosecution. It is not a guarentee of protection.

If a restraining order is necessary, then steps should be taken for safety and protection. Often it means taking shelter in a domestic violence agency. Sometimes it means taking other measures of protection. There are links on the left to some help for ideas about protectiing yourself. But I also reccommend that people who take out a restraining order should also make contact with their local domestic violence agency. They know the local resources, they can assist with the planning, and they are often the fastest route to any needed resource. And they can help in advising and explaining court procedures, assisting in decision making and act as advocates. Note I said that they assist in decision making. Decisions are always left to the individuals, but they can often be a good source to bounce ideas off of and to point out strengths and weaknesses in a decision.

I was thinking. 6:30 am in a sleeping household. Typically the house is fairly quiet, soft breathing noises, maybe the occasional snore. Soft noises like the hum of a refrigerator or an air conditioner. There would be enough light when you woke, to realize there was a man with a gun. And to recognize him. While fleeing from the home, I cannot imagine the fear they were going through. And at the sound of the shots, no one would have to tell them. They knew what happened.

It is often said that soldiers in war choose daybreak to begin a suprise attack, because that is when people sleep the soundest. And when roused, it takes them a little longer to waken, shake the confusion, and appropriately respond.



  1. WIP said,

    August 24, 2006 at 8:52 pm

    Just yesterday I attended the court date where my sister and her ex worked out a custody agreement. The ex has violated every restraining order ever issued, has withheld support, has been violent and untrustworthy and every manner of a bad guy as you’ve reported here. I am afraid for my sister and her children, now that he’s been thwarted, and quite severely challenged, by the courts. Supposedly there is a ‘stay away’ order which is basically a restraining order but I don’t think that having yet another order against harassing, stalking, threatening, etc. is going to work on this guy.

    Even though the news you give here is very negative and disturbing, it’s also very real, even if people don’t want to or can’t admit it. I, for one, want to thank you for being a resource for those of us affected by domestic violence. I have tried to counsel my sister on things I’ve learned about domestic violence and how to combat it (education, awareness, not underestimating a perpetrator) and continue to encourage her to seek more counseling and other assistance for her and her children. I have no doubt that this blog will continue to be a great source of material for my sister’s life.

  2. August 24, 2006 at 10:25 pm

    Thank you WIP. I am hoping that this will help someone. You are a good brother by being involved. Has your sister made contact with the local domestic violence agency? I really encourage that. If she doesn’t you can make the call and find out any suggestions or local resources that might be available to her. Then leave it up to her to decide what assisstance she can use. A newly separated or divorced person is often lonely so other things that are helpful. Remind her of other times when she has been strong. Remind her of how much she is loved and cared for. Give hugs. Share some meal times (one way is to show up at the house with a casserole), call at bedtime, just to talk. Arrange some activities together. Let her talk about the problems, but also show interest in other activities in her life. Spend some time with the kids (the kids need support too), maybe even offer to babysit while she does other activities. There are a lot of things a friend or relative can do to be supportive.

  3. August 4, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Aw, this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done. If you live in Colorado, and you suddenly find that a small health insurance company in Pennsylvania is making an offer that your local corporations just cannot match.

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