DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas woman cried out for help, getting a protective order against the ex-boyfriend she feared was going to hurt her, but it wasn’t enough.
Denton police say Coleman Nichols did indeed hurt his ex-girlfriend. He’s accused of shooting the woman in the face with a shotgun as she stood outside her home Saturday morning.
CBS 11 News has learned it was a fight between the couple last month that promoted the protective order.
But law enforcement officials and women’s shelter professional stress that a protective order is just a piece of paper. “If the suspect does violate they’re able to call us and let us know ‘he’s on my property’,” explained Denton Police Department Public Information Officer Ryan Grelle.
Often the women who are granted the protective orders are often still in a great deal of danger.
On March 11 Nichols was arrested and charged with assault, for shoving his ex-girlfriend while they were in the car.
The victim filed an emergency protective order that same day and it was granted on March 12. A hearing about that order was set for this Thursday.
Police say Nichols had threatened the woman, and then this past Saturday carried out those threats.
The 32-year-old victim remains hospitalized and Nichols is still on the run.
The woman’s mother, who doesn’t want to be identified, told CBS 11 off camera that the couple had been experiencing problems the last few months and that the victim recently moved out.
Toni Johnson-Simpson is the executive director of a women’s shelter called Friends of the Family. “If someone says they’re going to hurt your loved one – believe them,” she said. “I think it’s important for women who are in an abusive relationships to seek protective orders. But at the end of the day it’s not something that becomes a bulletproof vest.”
A protective order ensures fast police enforcement if a victim reports being stalked or harassed.
Nichols is wanted for aggravated assault and is believed to be driving a while Chevy pickup with Texas plates AC30692.