Tiffany Kidwell’s emergency protection order couldn’t save her life. According to Boone County court documents, the 32-year-old mother endured two separate attacks from John Gentry, the father of her children, between the day she filed for protection and the day he shot her to death in front of their sons.
“It makes my blood boil,” said Pernell Haizlip, a gun violence survivor who hopes to raise money for the boys, on Monday. “It makes my blood boil to say the least.”
“It is absolutely horrendous,” added his sister, Ashley Haizlip. “To think that’s something that could have been avoided.”
Gentry is being held without bond as of Thursday. A judge had initially set his bond at $1 million on Monday.
Court documents indicate the first attack happened Aug. 14, when Gentry confronted Kidwell outside her workplace, shouted at her and snatched her phone out of her hand as she tried to call 911. He was charged with two misdemeanors.
According to another court filing, on Sept. 10, he overpowered her, took her phone again and pinned her down in her car; she came to the police red-faced, complaining of pain in her shoulder and neck. Gentry was charged with four misdemeanors.
On Friday, he found her car in a Walton, Kentucky driveway. Police said Gentry shot Kidwell, killing her, and left their 3-year-old son with a bullet wound to his stomach. Their older son, 6, saw it happen.
It was second day of Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Local advocates for victims of abuse said Kidwell’s situation is not uncommon. Court orders don’t always deter abusers and may, in some cases, spur them to more severe acts of violence.
"The difficult part is that, of course, a protection order is a piece of paper, right?" said Danielle Firsich of the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati on Sunday. "It also can be something that can set off the abuser."
Kristen Shrimplin, who works with the local victims’ advocacy group Women Helping Women, said the COVID-19 pandemic has sharply increased the number of calls for help her organization receives each day.
On Monday, she estimated Women Helping Women was receiving 53% more calls during summer and early fall 2020 than it had at the same time in 2019. The types of violence callers report are also more intense.
“We are seeing fundamentally more strangulation,” Shrimplin said. “We are seeing fundamentally more domestic violence homicide. We are seeing more tactics of violence, of abuse, such as sexual assault.”
Gentry was arrested after Kidwell’s death and charged with domestic violence, attempted murder, first-degree assault, two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree robbery, violation of an emergency protection order and fleeing police on foot.
The couple’s wounded son is expected to survive.
The Haizlip siblings, who did not know Kidwell but have experienced gun violence firsthand, will raise money for Kidwell’s children with an Oct. 17 raffle.
A GoFundMe account set up to help pay for Kidwell’s funeral had raised over $18,500 by Monday night.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can reach out to any of the organizations listed below for help:
Women Helping Women
Call or Text 24-Hour Hotline
YWCA Greater Cincinnati
24-Hour YWCA Hamilton County Domestic Violence Hotline
TOLL FREE: 888-872-9259
Women's Crisis Center
Northern KY 24-Hour Crisis Line: 800.928.3335
Maysville, KY 24-Hour Crisis Line: 800.928.6708