LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) – Following the death of his mother and sister due to domestic violence, Alex Youn wants to see more done by local leaders to protect victims.
“My sister had done everything within her power and within her ability, even owning a gun to fire back,” Youn said.
Youn’s sister, Marie Varsos, was filing for divorce from her husband. Shaun Varsos, according to Youn, was not handling the situation well.
Varsos showed up to his mother-in-law, Deborah Sisco’s, home in Lebanon where his wife was living on April 12. When the two women tried to run away Varsos gunned them down, killing them.
Varsos later posted a cryptic message to his Facebook page before turning the gun on himself.
“This was the worst case scenario unfortunately,” Youn said. “Shaun was not in the mental state he should’ve been, was clearly deranged, and had it in his mind that he was serving his own justice.”
Weeks prior to the deadly shooting, Youn said his sister had filed an order of protection against her husband. She also filed for assault charges after an incident where Varsos allegedly strangled her.
“My sister wasn’t notified that Shaun had been arrested with the assault charge,” Youn said.
Youn said his sister was armed and fired back at Varsos before he shot her. Youn hoped that other victims would be able to get notified so they could have time to prepare or leave a dangerous situation.
“I get text notifications for banking codes and other stuff. Could there have been a text notification to let domestic violence victims know their accusers had been arrested?” Youn said.
Youn is taking his grief into action weeks later. He has been in contact with state legislators to see what technology and resources could be made available to protect victims of domestic violence.
“I think that we now need to start thinking about those individuals who are accusing domestic violence of what steps can we take now to make sure they don’t have access to the victims? A protective order isn’t going to stop them. It’s a sheet of paper,” Youn said.
Youn is hoping to have tracking bracelets similarly to those on house arrest, as well as, push notifications on victim’s phones alerting them to where their abuser is in the justice process.
“We have technology now that can allow that to track individuals, to send notifications to people. And, had my sister just had 30 more seconds of notice that he was in the area on a felony charge, that was something that could have been addressed,” Youn said.
He is also working with the Family Safety Center in Nashville to brainstorm some other ideas.
Youn is hoping that state lawmakers can bring up bills in the upcoming session to address domestic violence protections so another family does not have to experience this same deadly outcome.
Tennessee Statewide Domestic Violence Helpline: 800-356-6767.