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Bitter divorce and custody dispute may have fueled shooting spree

The couple was divorced more than 4 years ago. The divorce launched them into years of fighting over the custody of the son they had together from the marriage.

Any divorce can create tension and strife between two people who were formerly married. Many of the decisions made after a divorce, such as custody or spousal support, can make the already tense relationship more emotionally charged. For this one particular couple, a contentious divorce and custody battle led to a fatal shooting spree.

After the couple's divorce in 2007, they were granted nearly equal parenting time with their boy. But both the mother and the father argued about whether one should have primary custody over the other. The father believed that he should be the final authority on matters concerning the boy.

The parents even accused one another of acting inappropriately. The father accused the mother of being unable to take care of the boy due to an alcohol abuse problem. The mother in turn claimed that the father had violent tendencies and was mentally unfit to take care of their son.

The two recently appeared in court, once again to dispute the existing custody arrangement. But the court determined that no changes would be made to the custody agreement. Some believe that the bitter custody dispute is what caused the father to go on a killing spree last week.

He took several guns and went to his ex-wife's workplace. It was there that he methodically shot and killed 8 people, including his ex-wife. Another individual was killed in the parking lot as the man escaped. A witness called local police and the man was apprehended quickly and is currently in custody.

Many are likely wondering whether the killing spree could have been prevented. Though the father may not have agreed with the custody arrangement, it may be a long time now before he gets to spend time with his son.

Source: CBS News: "Prosecutor recounts killing spree at Calif. salon," Oct. 14, 2011

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