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Attorney talks about volatile child custody situations turning violent

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Attorney talks about volatile child custody situations turning violent.{ }

Court documents revealed that Nicholas Allen Mitchell, 40, and Julina Gibson, 30, were in a bitter custody battle leading up to the violence on Thursday.

Newschannel 3's Nicky Zizaza took a closer look at how volatile child custody situations can be.

Family members said an ongoing custody dispute led to the murder-suicide and a local attorney talked about what could've prevented it.

Criminal Defense Attorney Randall Levine said a child custody dispute over Nick shouldn't have ended in tragedy.

Randall Levine, a managing partner at Levine and Levine, said, “When guns are involved especially it is incumbent upon persons in these kind of relationships to bring these matters to the attention of law enforcement."

The murder-suicide early Thursday morning on Emerson St. happened on the doorstep of Julina Gibson's home, which where police said Mitchell shot Gibson, his son, and then turned the gun on himself.

Levine said, "In our society now, a person who makes a threat who is in a highly volatile emotional custody situation simply is not capable of handling a firearm responsibly."

Pouring over details of this case with Levine he said when children are involved things can escalate quickly.

Levine said, "Domestic disputes where child custody is an issue are highly charged, highly emotional events that sometimes trigger violence."

Court records show Mitchell and Gibson were in the middle of a child custody battle in which Gibson was awarded sole custody of their only child, but Levine said there are still warning signs.

He said, "In these relationships often times there is substance abuse and substance abuse is an underlying cause and needs to be addressed. There are also mental health concerns, mental health treatment has to be in place. There are often times anger. So we are talking about anger management counseling, all these things can be tools that can be used to tamp the situation down."

Police said this remains an ongoing investigation and The Gibson family is in the process of planning a memorial for Nick Mitchell and Julina Gibson.

Family of the youngest victim in a Kalamazoo murder-suicide said 4-year-old Nick Mitchell's organs are being donated.

Family and friends will come together for a vigil Saturday night on Emerson St. to remember little Nick and his mom.

The vigil is planned not far from where police said Nicholas Mitchell Junior, 40, shot his ex-girlfriend and son, before turning the gun on himself on Thursday.