Police extend remand for man accused of killing wife

Women’s groups: Shooting in Petah Tikva ‘only latest’ in series of domestic incidents in which men have used a work-issued firearm.

weapons guns arms seized by police 390 (photo credit: Israel Police)
weapons guns arms seized by police 390
(photo credit: Israel Police)
The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s court on Wednesday morning extended by nine days the remand of a 52-year-old man accused of shooting his wife to death in front of the couple’s 14-year-old daughter while in the family car the night before.
Sharon police subdistrict spokesman Eran Shaked said the man was not cooperating with investigators. He added that there was no known history of domestic violence or police complaints involving the couple. The daughter is now staying with relatives.
The suspect’s attorney, Avi Himi, told The Jerusalem Post that the man had not meant to shoot his wife and that the two bullets that struck her in the head had been discharged by accident. Himi also said that while the couple had been talking about a divorce over the past few months, there had never been violence before Tuesday night.
The suspect allegedly used the handgun he had been given as part of his job as a security guard, making the killing the latest in a string of deadly domestic violence in which a security guard used his work-issued firearm.
According to the NGO “Gun Free Home,” at least 30 women have been killed in Israel since 2002 by spouses who used guns issued to them as security guards.
The group says the onus for stopping such killings lies with police and the Public Security Ministry, which, it charges, do not enforce a regulation stipulating that security guards must leave their weapon at their assigned place of work and not take it home. The regulation had been recommended by the Brinker Committee, an interministerial group led by Police Asst.-Ch. Daniel Brinker. The panel also recommended stricter training.
Galia Wallach, head of Na’amat, the Histadrut women’s organization, called on Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to “carry out the recommendation on regulating security guards’ weapons after their shifts,” and also to take another look at hiring criteria.
“Again and again, we are witness to the use of security guards’ weapons, which are meant to be regulated, in murder and family violence,” Wallach said. “The Public Security Ministry and security companies must take responsibility for all of the children left as orphans because of the failure to enforce guidelines.”
In an incident last December, Beersheba security guard Yevgeni Bagatz, a 23-year-old father of two, shot his wife to death along with a man he suspected of having an affair with her. He, too, used his work-issued handgun. Just like the incident in Petah Tikva, Bagatz called police immediately and waited at the scene for officers to arrest him.
A spokesman for the Public Security Ministry said on Wednesday that it takes the issue seriously and has held meetings on the matter to find a better way to regulate the use of work-related handguns.