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CLAYTON, Mo. – The murder of a mother and her two children this past week continues to create concern in the community.

On Thursday night, police say Bobby McCulley III killed his estranged wife, 34-year-old Roseann McCulley, and her two children, ages 13 and 6. It’s believed Bobby McCulley killed himself Friday morning.

Investigators say the killings were a culmination of a history of alleged domestic abuse by McCulley, triggered by McCulley’s impending arrest on a domestic violence charge.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell says domestic violence is a crime that affects not just families but also communities.

Bell released a statement begging the community to stop turning a blind eye to the abuse and toxic behaviors they see and start holding the abusers accountable for their actions with the help of authorities.

Domestic violence involves all of us

By Wesley Bell

Domestic violence is not only a crisis for victims. It concerns all of us, and all of us are needed to protect victims and save their lives. All of us are needed to stop this violence.

Too often, domestic violence is seen as “her” problem. No more. Yes, we want victims to seek help and safety, but we can’t wipe our hands of the problem and stop there. Family, friends and loved ones must be accountable when we recognize the early signs of domestic violence. Everyone has to get involved and sometimes intervene. We must encourage family and friends we suspect of abusive behavior or potential abuse to get help.

We may even feel compelled to report family or friends to the authorities when we see clear evidence of domestic violence. This may strain a relationship, but it may save a life. You may save several lives.

Had Bobby McCulley spared his own life and been taken into custody after killing his wife and her two children on Thursday night, then I wouldn’t talk about him today. I would be shattered and angry, but I would respect the rights of the accused. In my public silence, our team would be preparing a case to make sure Mr. McCulley never spent one single day or night outside of a jail or prison for the rest of his life.

But Mr. McCulley is among the trail of the dead he left in our community. He will not see his day in court. I am powerless to prosecute Mr. McCulley for his crimes, just as I am powerless to bring the dead to life. I am powerless to bring back to life Roseann McCulley and her two children, Kayla and Kayden.

But I do want to use what power I have to speak directly to our community. I want to ask everyone to put down the guns. Put down the fists. We have to stop turning on each other. We have to stop turning on the ones we love or used to love. We have to stop killing the ones we love or used to love. For God’s sake, we have to stop killing our children.

The McCulleys’ tragedy did not begin with a triple murder. It began with domestic assault. When he killed Roseann and her children, Mr. McCulley was fleeing police trying to arrest him for domestic violence against her. Roseann was doing all of the right things. She was cooperating with detectives and prosecutors. She was trying to use the law to protect herself and seek justice. But Mr. McCulley acted wildly outside of the law.

I am deeply sorry and shaken that the law was not powerful enough to protect Roseann, Kayla and Kayden. But I do beg people to keep coming to us for protection and justice. There is evil that the courts cannot stop, but the courts are all we have to seek justice and retribution for crime. If you are a victim of domestic violence, please, do not suffer in silence. Come forward. Seek justice and protection.

I ask everyone to look in their own hearts and souls and seek the help they need. We have to start helping ourselves and not hurting others. We can’t solve our problems with violence. We can’t solve our problems with our fists. We can’t solve our problems with guns. We can only cause more problems and pain with fists and guns.

And remember: Public safety is also private safety. If you suspect someone is not safe in the privacy of their own home, in what should be their safest space, then please get involved.