Fortuna’s Shooting: One More Domestic Violence Victim

When the ex-wife of Russell Allan Kellim left her home to meet him early Wednesday morning outside of her Fortuna gated community, she thought she would be doing a routine custody exchange of their two-year-old daughter. We don’t know what changed her plans but soon after the planned meeting, she returned to her home with her child still strapped safely in the car seat. There, she was shot four times on her front porch by Kellim. After shooting her, Kellim shot himself once in the head. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. His ex-wife was flown to an out-of-the-area hospital where doctors must deal with the effects of a bullet caught in her spine.

Domestic violence issues result in about 7% of the arrests in Humboldt County. In 2013 there were approximately two arrests per day countywide. Brenda Bishop executive director of Humboldt Domestic Violence Services said that, across the country, one in three women are abused and one half of all Native American Women are abused. However, she said, domestic violence victims can be male also.

Bishop said that while she didn’t know the situation between Kellim and his ex-wife, child custody issues can exacerbate domestic violence issues. And she says the courts can compound the issue. “The State of California believes that both parents have rights. Sometimes, the survivor has got to share the child with this person who has been violent towards her— violent towards the children.”

[UPDATE: John Chiv wrote today that Kellim had a child support complaint filed against him and a domestic violence order. See more here.]

Furthermore, Bishop explained the children of partnerships where domestic violence occurred are deeply affected. “Where children are involved, it is a struggle not only for the survivor but for the children,” she said. “They are not mini adults and we forget sometimes what they see and experience.”


Bishop said that her agency and others can help. “We support a survivor when he or she is working through the custody right.”  Her agency and others provide a safety net and assistance to the victims whether they are male or female. “When women or men come to our shelter, it is because they don’t have any support,” she said. “It is because their support system has fallen apart. We help recreate a support system for them.” (Here are links to Places to Get Help Locally including Bishop’s agency.)

The first step to improving what Bishop calls a “crisis” in domestic violence issues, she believes is “as a community we need to bring domestic violence out of the closet.” Talking about the problem, bringing awareness to the large numbers of domestic violence victims, she said will support victims seeking help, and will encourage people seeing abuse to intervene.

Whatever the facts of the Kellim incident, for the sake of victims like his ex-wife and little girl, we need to be aware of the warning signs of abuse and we need to speak up when we see them. (See graphic below.)

For more: A powerful local story of domestic violence: Speaking the Scream

See graphic below for signs of abuse:

Domestic Violence

Power and Control Wheel



  • I hope all abused women (or men) will take advantage of the help that is available locally. I know it’s very hard to leave an abuser, and very dangerous. I was fortunate in that my abuser had not progressed any further than the “intimidation” part of this “Power and Control Wheel” (destroying my property and physical abuse) before I was able to have him removed from my home by an officer. I was also fortunate that I had my own job and money and the home was mine, so I wasn’t homeless or without finances. Also, I did not live in a community property state so didn’t have to deal with any of that.

    • Lazy Skunk Ranch

      It would be nice to see something like the power and control wheel not be directed only at men. Women commit these acts as well. Sexism in society stops people from getting help and the wording on the wheel further alienates men that are in a home setting as the wheel describes.

      It’s sad to see parents not being able to put their anger and pain behind them to care for their children. It’s something the children can never truly recover from.

      • Lazy Skunk, look very carefully at the Wheel. Where does it say that perps are only male and victims only female

        • Lazy Skunk Ranch

          Using male privilege, is where we’ll start going clockwise- why not using state using privilege?
          Coercion and threats- …something to hurt HER, making HER drop the charges…
          intimidation – making HER afraid…
          Emotional abuse- putting HER down…
          Isolation – controlling what SHE does…
          Blaming- …saying SHE caused it
          Using children- making HER feel guilty…
          Economic abuse- preventing HER from getting or keeping a job…

          Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see anything on the wheel that shows that domestic violence can happen to BOTH sexes.

          The wheel DOES show the basis for unhealthy relationships, it DOES NOT show that this is a HUMAN condition, but a MALE condition.

          Imagine being a male that has been abused by a female and you read this wheel? Won’t you think it’s sexist?

          The topics on the wheel are correct, but the wording is completely SEXIST and should be reworded and not simply directed at men that commit these acts, but women also= it’s a Human Condition.

          • PsychTraumaTxist

            There is a very good and valid reason that that graphic is gender-specific: there are others that are not, but this is the go-to image because like it or not, our society is patriarchal/male-dominated, and with that our culture privileges men. That’s pretty much true around the globe, across all but a very few cultures. Don’t read misandry into something where it does NOT exist.

            “Women are much more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence with 85 percent of domestic abuse victims being women and 15 percent men. Too many women have been held captive by domestic violence — whether through physical abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse or a combination of all three.”

            1 in 4 = The number of women who will be victims of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.

            1 in 7 = The number of men who will be victims of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.

            Excerpt from:
            [Lest anyone be interested, the article includes active URLs linking to the sources for statistics used.]

            • I’ve heard somewhat different numbers but the basic facts are the same. Both genders can be victims. Women tend to be victims in larger numbers. Either way, society needs to help both.

          • Don’t forget elderly and gay relationships too; anyone can be controlled and dominated. Often a document must pick a pronoun and usually it is to represent the majority group. Read the Constitution; you will not find the words “she” or “her”. I think the target population for this graphic are the women who are weaker physically, usually caring for the children and without control of the finances.

  • Abused used and scared

    He did the whole power wheel trip on me. I finally told someone. I did everything I was told to. The humboldt superior court system made it so much worse. They gave him more power and control over me. He turned my kids against me, made them hate me. I wish I never told anyone. I wish I would have just died instead.

    • Have you talked to Humboldt Domestic Violence Services? They might be able to help.

      • Thank you for caring. I did go there, I called all the places I was told too, I went to counseling, I talked to terry farmer, I talked to Paul Gallegos, I talked and begged and pleaded with everyone. I went to victim witness…they are the only ones who helped me. My case started in the year 2000 in riverside county, where I was given sole custody. I came up here. The father of my kids followed. I tried to make it work for the kids to still know their dad. He filed fake charges against me. He filed using our little boys signature. His own lawyer had him arrested for contempt. He filed a restraining order against me which gave him temp. Custody. He continuously prolonged signing papers with John buffington which extended his temp. Custody. He was evicted 3times. The kids did not attend school. I had to pay a supervisor $20.00 an hour for a 13 hour per week visit. I also bought food and clothing for my children. He finally realized it’s not what he said/ she said it is what the kids say. The more I started telling the court about the horrible things he had done to all of us the more He started telling the kids he would die if they were with me , that I was crazy, that I beat him up, that I tried to kill them. He also said the same about my entire family. The humboldt courts allowed this to happen. Tracy herrin allowed this to happen, I have no faith whatsoever in this county helping abused women and children. They give the man so much more power and control over his victims. I will go on record with what I have discovered about the direct mis treatment of POOR women here. I know other women that this has happened too. I have 0 contact with my children now. My family has 0 contact with them also. It’s been 12 years since humboldt county commissioner Hendrich has put my children in the direct hands of a monster. By the way yes I was terrified of his threats to kill me and I still tried, yet the more I tried the more he abused our kids…. So maybe I am the bad parent.

  • Thank you, Kym, for writing about domestic violence. It is so important to discuss issues like this out in the open. It is important information for all of us. Thank you, Humboldt Domestic Violence Service for all that you do!

  • Maybe some resources found here could be useful..

  • Now I realize why you left the locooutpost, so you could report your way, thank you!

  • There will be a vigil 6 p.m. at the County Court house in Eureka to send healing energy, thoughts, light and prayers to the victim and her family (as well as all those affected by domestic violence. Please bring a candle. Sponsored by WISH and Minerva.

  • Kym, even I can’t keep up with you! Love the blog, the style, the comment edit feature!

  • PsychTraumaTxist

    First, I want to say to Kym: BRAVA! Thank you for going the extra mile to try to educate the community about this issue. Intimate partner and family violence only exist — ONLY — where there is secrecy and silence. The more of us that speak out, the better chances are that some will be spared.
    I’d also like to add a few more resources:
    • Geared toward teens and young adults, this organization offers a wealth of information that parents would do well to read and share — and reflect upon, for much is relevant even to adults:
    • Website for North Coast Association of Mental Health Professionals (NCAMHP), the local professional organization of mental and behavioral health care providers and social workers. Has a user-friendly way to sort through different criteria for finding a counselor. Sometimes just talking through concerns — even for an hour — can help clarify how to handle a troubling situation you are in or have witnessed:
    • The National Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7): 1-800-799-7233; 1-800-787-3224 (TTY);
    • RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network):
    …and there are more.
    And a final thought: If you do not think this issue touches you, it does. You may just not see it. Please: GET INVOLVED.

    • Good information to know. Thank you.

    • Lazy Skunk Ranch

      Men suffer as victims of domestic violence and should NOT be left from the propaganda to change society’s feelings towards this terrible lifestyle. It’s sad to think that male victims have NO where to turn and aren’t even believed to be victims by our SEXIST society.

      I’d like to see much of the wording to reflect this HUMAN disease and not have it geared towards men being the only perps and women being the only victims. It’s disgusting to think in this day and age discrimination can be so up front and blatant.

      Please take a moment of silence to remember the MALE victims of domestic violence and think how we as a society can change sexist attitudes that effect us all.

  • Lazy skunk just stop. The statistics do not back up your view. A woman not a man is most at risk of being murdered by her her spouse or significant other. There is an epidemic of domestic violence and it is the women and the children that are suffering not the men. The sheer difference in strength and mass between most men and women and biased cultural norms for centuries makes your claims outlandish. Ok..Statistically there may be a few bold women that have gotten a punch in here and there but there is no evidence men suffer domestic abuse anywhere near the level that women have endured it. For generations! To the point that in many cultures it is accepted. How dare a woman be so defiant ? Right? 0f course the man could scream at her and assault her. She deserved it after all! Please pardon me if you have suffered such trauma at the hands of one who purports to love you but in my opinion your argument is a clever narcissistic trick known as gaslighting to draw attention away from the issue at hand which was to raise awareness about domestic violence against women in light of this woman who was murdered!! Was it a husband that was brutally murdered by his abusive wife?? no. . The real issue is not violence against men the real issue is violence against women. Im kidding just a little when i say any man that claims he’s suffered domestic violence was probably just not getting his way! 😉

    • Lazy Skunk Ranch

      I believe the issue is violence in relationships and not a “woman only” issue. There are plenty of women in prison for killing their spouse or partner. To define the crime and direct it towards one sex is wrong and sexist.

      I think the issue is violence in relationships and not classifying a potential perp as always male. Society seems to thrive on divisions and the wheel with it’s sexist wording is a prime example of that. BOTH sexes can be in unhealthy, violent relationships- regardless of their sex! We need to move beyond social divisions and see everyone as a Human.
      IMHO, the wheel is dated in it’s wording, but has the topic covered well, except it only focuses on men as being the perps.

  • Believe what you like Skunk Ranch. In fact i think you should definitely start your own blog! And you can post at length about the dated power/control wheel& all the unjust treatment men receive at the hands of women! Please! And you can also cite all the local stats for men killed& assaulted by their mistresses or wives (can you name even one??) While we can easily name several local women brutally killed or assaulted by their lovers! This mother lost her life at the hand of her daughter’s father and former spouse. A man did this to a woman. A woman is assaulted by a man every 9seconds in the USA. Abuse is about control and entitlement. Historically it is men not women who have enjoyed abundant control and entitlement which unfortunately many abused and continue to do so. It’s not sexist to highlight the HUGE issue of violence against women by men it’s a reality! I understand you are quite attached to your stance in spite of the facts and i will look forward to reading more of your amazing insight into the sexist nature of domestic violence awareness campaigns on your new blog. 😉 Now to every woman reading THIS blog:  Know the red flags & be aware of the signs. Look to a man’s actions & ignore the lies. Google NPD.  Abusers are narcissistic empty shells. They act “nice” but behind closed doors treat their family and intimate partners like objects or extensions of themselves …or like dirt. Please don’t be a martyr and a doormat for someone’s insatiable need for attention, affection, power, and control. They suck the life out of you. Or worse- KILL YOU!!!  Balanced healthy relationships can’t revolve around only one person’s expectations or needs. Unfortunately narcissistic men (85%narcs are men-sorry) have no empathy, low threshold for criticism and an inability to feel real love. Let that sink in. Unable to love. That’s how the unthinkable like a young mother  murdered by the father of her child happens….  

    • Lazy Skunk Ranch

      The fact do show that women are treated like this more often than men, MORE often- not exclusive. Making this a human condition will help lift the veil of sexism in this society.
      Let’s turn this around and say that every single parent is a woman that has been abandoned by a man. You do know there are solo fathers out there that have children with mothers that abandoned them, right? Why the need for society to have a sexist slant on the issues, openly cheer male bashing, deny achievements of male parents, and rally society around the poor single mother? All while there are male parents, going it alone, that saved their children from an abusive mother!
      Equality means doing away with old preconceptions and moving forward. The wording on the wheel helps to divide society over sex and further muddies the waters for any male trying to get help.
      It’s nonsense.
      We as a society need to learn what healthy relationships are and how to run away from unhealthy ones. To do this we must rise above the gender roles, and the wording on the wheel only serves to divide gender roles. It’s dated, sexist, and openly encourages society to hate men. I believe that is what it is designed for- simple division of the population for easier control.

      When my ex wife was arrested for domestic violence she pretty much walked from court and gave me the finger and made a slashing motion over her throat. Now if the gender roles were reversed the male may have been shot dead on the court house steps. Women commit these crimes, I believe as often as men, just society will not punish them or even admit the fact that these crimes can happen to men. It’s complete hogwash.

      • Wow a slashing motion over her throat, and the finger!?! Traumatic. Pretty much like murder. You claim she was arrested. Was there a convicton? Or were those bogus retalitory accusations made by you because you weren’t getting your way? Whatever. You need more attention than seems healthy . You can say it all you want and in your heart you may believe it but the statistics simply do not back up your claim that ” ..women commit these crimes as often as men.” A woman and mother is dead. So you come here to claim your ex wife gave you the finger? Blog it skunk. Or as it is keep highjacking this story of actual blood and death with your pronoun obssesed pity party. 😀

        • Gently, gently. It is okay to disagree but please avoid targeting people.

          Lazy Skunk says he was the victim of domestic violence. We know that men suffer, too. Please let’s not attack anyone because of fear they felt as the result of domestic violence. Feeling threatened because someone who has made your life miserable made a slashing motion across the throat is reasonable. Please don’t dismiss it. Victims don’t deserve that.

  • Violent acts are committed with regularity by all genders, towards all genders, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The difference is in the type of violence, and in how society perceives and responds to those acts of violence. This video came out last September, as a documentation of a social experiment, to see what happens in public spaces when men verbally and physically abuse women, and when women verbally and physically abuse men.

    Women are more likely to bully, intimidate, emasculate, and blackmail men than they are to physically abuse them. There are many videos on youtube highlighting the ways this can happen, and the pain that it causes.

    Yes, we need to be aware of language, and how language can include or exclude different people. It doesn’t invalidate the value of resources that were created before our awareness of particular language limitations came into play, but it does call for re-designing such resources to be more inclusive, when possible. In the end, we are all human, and have far more in common than not. Abusers attempt to control others, and the abused are attempting to belong….

    Here is a gender neutral wheel

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