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Nashville police left a domestic violence victim. Her estranged husband shot her 10 minutes later.

Michaela Carter
Posted at 6:05 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 20:51:36-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — EDITOR'S NOTE: Police initially described James Leggett as an ex-boyfriend, but family said they were married in 2020 but legally separated.

The family of a domestic violence victim said police left their daughter and sister only for her estranged husband to shoot her 10 minutes later.

Michaela Carter's family said they were grieving her loss this Thanksgiving and felt like the system failed her.

Family said Michaela Carter met with Metro Nashville Police Department officers Nov. 15 about her estranged husband, James Leggett. Family said he broke a protective order by making threats. After he reportedly showed up to a family member's apartment, her family called police.

Michaela Carter didn't prosecute for the protective order violation immediately as she had to go to work, a spokesperson from the MNPD said. Police said she had planned to meet with officers to finalize it after her shift. Officers escorted the family home to Vanna Court in Antioch and checked the property. After they left, police said Leggett kicked down the door and opened fire.

"Ten minutes after they left, he showed up," Kiandrea Jones said. "That is complete negligence. That shows us that Black lives do not matter. They do not matter. That is clear evidence of that. And this could have been completely prevented. We did everything right. We did everything by the book."

A police spokesperson said they were not able to sit outside the home all day.

"The injustice is what hurts so bad," Jones said.

Michaela Carter died from her injures, and her father is recovering. According to her sister, Michaela's mom was on the phone with 911 when it happened.

The woman would've been celebrating her 25th birthday this week.

"She was bigger than life, you can’t help to feel empty," her cousin Perp Djona said.

Michaela Carter
Michaela Carter

Her cousins and sisters want better protections for domestic violence survivors.

"He went to jail in July and got out in November, my sister was walking around with a knife in her purse because she was terrified," Schemagne Gayden said.

Leggett is behind bars on a $1.2 million bond. His charge will be upgraded to criminal homicide in addition to attempted murder, aggravated stalking, aggravated burglary, and unlawful gun possession by a convicted felon.

In a prior domestic violence incident involving the couple, the district attorney said Michaela Carter did not want to testify which impacted the case. Family said she was fearful, but eventually got up the courage to leave her relationship.