COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Phenix City mother was shot multiple times as she tried to make it into work on the morning of Feb. 21, 2014. Columbus Police said 44-year-old Tonya Charles was shot five times by her estranged husband, 53-year-old Lyle Charles.
Tonya, who worked for DFCS, parked her car in the back parking lot of the Health and the Human Services Building at about 8 a.m. She spotted Lyle in the parking lot, and ran back inside her car to run away from him. As Tonya got inside the car, Lyle fired five shots at her through her car's window.
Police said Lyle had escaped the premise when police arrived at the scene around 8:07 a.m.
Eva Howard lives few blocks away from the Health and the Human Services building, and her house faces the back parking lot where Tonya was murdered.
"I heard five shots. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom!" Howard recalled the moment. "I ran to the door and saw people gather around her blue car. My son and I were on the porch, and my son said the lady looked like she was dead."
Sandy Cannon, a block captain of the Neighborhood Watch, says she saw Lyle shoot Tonya when Cannon was walking her dogs.
"I've seen bad things in my life," Cannon said. "But by God, this is one and only experience I ever hope to see. I'd never seen people being shot down like a dog. I saw the car window being blown out."
"I'm sorry this had to end like this," Howard said. "It's just sad. I wish there had been another way they could've worked it out. This is so sad."
Lyle was found inside of his car dead near the 8100 block of Fortson Business Park Boulevard in Columbus, Ga. according to the press release sent by Columbus Police.
Lyle had a self-inflicted gun wound to his head, and was pronounced dead at around 1:33 p.m the same afternoon he had shot and killed Tonya.