Grand Rapids, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The wife of the man charged with shooting two people in Grand Rapids last weekend is speaking out about domestic violence.
William Levi Payne, 26, allegedly entered a Grand Rapids home
Saturday where his wife, Sarah Payne, was present. He then allegedly shot two of Sarah's friends, Paul Russell Johnson and Rosemary Oberg-Johnson before kidnapping Sarah at gunpoint.
Sarah had filed an order for protection against Payne four days before the shooting.
She hopes that by speaking out others suffering from domestic violence won't have to endure what she did.
"My whole world has turned into a nightmare," Sarah Payne said in a prepared statement Friday," My heart aches every second."
Sarah says that after years of abuse, she separted from Payne in April.
"He has been abusive since we started dating at the age of 16," said Sarah.
Sarah says she found the strength to leave her husband with
help from Advocates for Family Peace, a domestic violence prevention agency in Grand Rapids.
"Without them I'd still be where I was," said Sarah of their help.
Sarah says the support of her friends, Paul Russell Johnson and Rosemary Oberg-Johnson, also helped her leave Payne.
"Paul was a loving and caring man," Sarah said in the statement, "He helped me by showing me that I didn't have to live in an abusive relationship any more."
Paul Russell Johnson and Rosemary Oberg-Johnson remain in the hospital in critical condition.
"Just pray for a miracle, because it's all just in God's hands now," said Sarah.
According to Advocates for Family Peace, an average of 700 people in Itasca County suffer from domestic violence every year. Additionally, about 1,000 children a year are affected by that violence, making Itasca the county with the fifth highest rate of domestic violence in Minnesota.
"Unfortunately, for most of us it isn't until a tragedy happens that this staggering reality becomes part of our everyday awareness," said Advocates for Family Peace Executive Director, Melissa Scaia.
Which is why Sarah chose to speak out, because she hopes other victims will seek help.
"Hopefully out of this something good can come, someone else's life saved, someone else's eyes opened, someone seeks help," she said in her statement.
Sarah Payne and William Levi Payne have two children together, both of whom Sarah says are safe and under the care of family members.
If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, you can contact Advocates for Family Peace, which serves all of Itasca and Northern St. Louis County, at 1-800-909-8336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocates are available to help those in need of their services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.