(INDIANAPOLIS) - After two days on the run, police arrested the man accused of shooting his estranged wife in a daycare parking lot.
Christopher Justice surrendered Wednesday night in Lexington, Kentucky. An extradition hearing is taking place this afternoon to return Justice to Indiana to face an attempted murder charge.
Shirley Justice's family says she remains in critical condition fighting for her life with several of the 13 bullets that hit her still embedded in her body. Meanwhile, IMPD detectives are preparing to head down to Lexington today to speak with Christopher and start the process of bringing him back to Indianapolis.
Tuesday morning, police say Justice tried to kill his estranged wife, Shirley Justice, outside the Kindercare daycare on the Indianapolis west side after she dropped off her daughter. The child was not hurt.
Christopher Justice, a one-time Army Reservist, was believed to have weapons. Police are pleased that Justice turned himself in peacefully. They credit a combination of efforts with the quiet surrender.
"We do want to say the family played an important role in this and also our detectives who worked tirelessly to develop techniques to persuade the suspect to surrender there in Lexington," said Sgt. Kendale Adams, IMPD.
Christopher's family issued a statement overnight saying,
"It is now and has been the sincere desire and prayer of the loved ones of Christopher Justice that 'No one should perish.' To that end we have continually pleaded in prayer to God for the life of Shirley Justice and Christopher Justice in the same breath and with one voice. "
The victim's family released a statement Thursday saying, "We also want to stress the importance of treating domestic violence with the seriousness it deserves. Victimizing the abuser and vilifying the abused is a sure way to result in a tragedy like this. Nothing can justify trying to take someone else's life."
Both families acknowledge this tragedy exploded out of a long-running custody battle over the couple's six-year-old daughter. A judge gave Christopher custody February 10. But his family says a filing mishap left their daughter in Shirley Justice's care, pushing him to the boiling point.
Statement from Shirley Justice's family following Christopher Justice's arrest:
"We would first like to thank Detective Marcus Kennedy and the entire IMPD who worked tirelessly around the clock to apprehend Christopher Justice. We also want to stress the importance of treating domestic violence with the seriousness it deserves. Victimizing the abuser and vilifying the abused is a sure way to result in a tragedy like this. Nothing can justify trying to take someone else's life. We would like thank everyone for their continued prayers and support. Shirley is still in critical condition with several of the 13 bullets still embedded inside her. Finally, thank you to the first responders and medical staff who are giving world class care to this beautiful and loving mother, daughter, sister and friend. A donation site will be set up on behalf of Shirley and her children."
Early Thursday, Christopher Justice's family also released a statement:
"This statement is not purposed to be an explanation of nor a justification for the shooting of Tuesday morning February 18, 2014. Moreover it is a statement of fact. It is now has been the sincere desire and prayer of the loved ones of Christopher Justice that 'No one should perish.' To that end we have continually pleaded in prayer to God for the life of Shirley Justice and Christopher Justice in the same breath and with one voice. Christopher's mother and I expressed, to all family members and extended family, if anyone were to have contact with Christopher to encourage him to turn himself in to the authorities. In fact, that is exactly what occurred. Christopher Justice turned himself in to police at 150 East Main Street, Lexington KY in the company of a relative at about 8:25PM February 19, 2014.
"That same relative also called an officer with the Indianapolis police department to inform them of Christopher's action. Christopher was not hunted down and captured, he gave himself up to the authorities. Not the action of a mad man or a monster. Judging him is the province of the Court not his family. Nor do we attempt to slander anyone.
"Fact, this is about the custody of a child. Although, at least, one reporter used the adjective of draconian to describe the court order of February 10, 2014 which gave Christopher total legal and physical custody of his daughter, that order was not made in a vacuum or without a host of evidence. If that filing was indeed'late' the deliberation was diligent. After this long fight for the protection of his only child appeared to be for nothing due to a filing date mishap, this tragic event occurred. We continue to pray for all parties affected by the recent events."
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