Wife of Alleged Grand Rapids Gunman Reacts

Posted at: 12/28/2012 6:39 PM
Updated at: 12/28/2012 6:53 PM
By: Travis Dill

Sarah Payne is taking it one day at a time after allegedly being kidnapped by her husband during the shooting.

She said she is troubled by suggestions that this happened because of marital problems. She said it is an act of domestic violence.

“He stole a gun and tried to steal the lives of two of the kindest people that I know,” Sarah Payne said.

She said her husband, William Levi Payne, has been abusive for years. They have two young children, but she has been separated from her husband since April.

A judge granted her an order of protection just days before her husband allegedly shot Paul and Rosie Johnson in their home in Grand Rapids. The two were still in critical condition on Friday. She is holding onto hope for the victims.

“There's still hope for Paul and Rosie and I just pray that everybody can come together as a community and stand together and not hate and just pray for a miracle,” Sarah Payne said.

She said the shooting is the sad result of domestic violence. She is speaking out because she wants other victims to know that help is out there.

“A lot of the time you just become numb to the situation and it's just part of your everyday life,” Sarah Payne said. “And I just want to thank the advocates because without them I'd still be where I was.”

Advocates for Family Peace offers confidential help for those in Itasca County and Northern St. Louis County. For more information on the services they provide click here.

Sarah Payne is praying for everyone affected by this violent act, but she hopes her story can help save others suffering from domestic violence.

William Levi Payne turned himself in after the shooting. He is facing eight felony charges including attempted murder and kidnapping. Initial court hearings are scheduled for early next week.