ROY — She had asked him if he could please stop smacking his lips when he ate.
The next thing Vicky Locke knew, she had been shot four times and was scrambling to get out of her house alive.
A domestic violence argument almost turned deadly when police say a very drunk and angry Christopher Locke fired multiple rounds at his wife inside their Roy house, 3792 W. 4750 South. After allegedly shooting at least eight rounds at his wife with a .9mm handgun, striking her several times, Locke got an assault rifle from his basement and walked outside his house, apparently looking for Vicky.
Following a two-hour standoff with police, Christopher Locke, 41, was taken in custody.
Today, Vicky Locke is out of the hospital and back home. Her pelvis was cracked by one of the bullets and she'll need a cane to help her walk for the next month as her injuries heal. But she's expected to make a full recovery.
Her husband remained in the Weber County Jail on no bail and faces charges of attempted murder, assault, domestic violence in the presence of a child, and carrying a gun while under the influence.
Now, Locke wants to let others know what happened to her in order to prevent another woman from having to go through what she did — or worse. The problem with her husband, she said, is alcohol.
"If you are in this situation and if the person you're with doesn't seek the help, then you need to leave because they're never going to do it. They won't. If they go out and seek it on their own just because you tell them to do it, they're not going to do it, You've got to get out, because it's not going to get better, it's going to get worse," she said.
On the night she was shot, Vicki Locke said her husband had been drinking very heavily, finishing nearly an entire bottle of vodka in less than 90 minutes. Court documents noted that after Locke was arrested, he "smelled heavily of alcohol, had poor balance, and red, bloodshot, glassy eyes."
Family members said they knew that when Christopher Locke started drinking, it was time to leave the house. And he drank, they said, often.
"This past year, it's pretty much been an everyday thing," Vicky Locke said. "He was trying to cut back, but unfortunately he had went and got a bottle and got really drunk and got really aggressive."
Late on the night of Dec. 15, the Lockes and close family friend Haley Smith, 19, were in a bedroom talking.
"He was eating a piece of cake and he was smacking his lips, and I said, 'Chris, can you please stop smacking your lips?' And he just went off. He started calling me names. I had actually went up to him and I had apologized to him if I had offended him," Vicky Locke said.
She was also hoping her husband would apologize for the names he called her. Instead, she said, he told her "it would be a cold day in hell," before he did that.
At that point, Locke said she took the nearly empty vodka bottle he had been drinking and threw it away. When Christopher Locke found it in the garbage, he picked it up and allegedly threw it at Vicky, missing her and hitting Smith in the head instead. Smith's head was bleeding and she needed to go to the hospital, Vicky Locke said. But her husband didn't want emergency officials called.
"That's when things went from bad to really bad," she said.
As Locke tried to get a cellphone to call police, she said her husband punched her in the face and knocked her down.
"He told me he was going to give me something to call the police about," she recalled.
In her mind, that meant he was going to go for the loaded handgun they kept on a shelf. Vicky Locke ran to the front door and was trying to unlock it when the first shot was fired from the staircase less than 30 feet away.
"I felt it hit me, then a second one hit me," she said.
As she fumbled to get the door open, the frequency of shots increased as she stumbled outside the doorway.
"I looked down and the blood was already covering the whole front of my pants and down to my knee."
A total of eight shots were fired. At her house on Friday, several bullet holes were evident around the door frame, even though the family had attempted to cover them up.
"My (5-year-old son) had to do something that no little boy should have to do — he cut little pieces of round paper to cover the bullet holes in my wall so we didn't have to see them," she said while fighting back tears.
A couple of bullets went through the walls and the siding on the exterior of the house.
As Vicky Locke was receiving help from neighbors down the street, one of Smith's friends, a woman named Brandi, walked into the Locke residence before police arrived, unaware there was a problem. She found Christopher Locke sitting on the stairs, this time with an assault rifle. She asked him what was going on.
Brandi said Locke started to cry and allegedly told her, "I think I did something bad."
Chris Locke then got his 5-year-old son — who had slept through the incident — out of bed.
"He got him dressed, told him that he loved him very much, told him that he wasn't going to be around for a long, long time and basically said his goodbyes, and gave (his son) to Brandi and asked Brandi to take him out to police," Vicky Locke said.
After she left, the standoff with police began.
Today, Locke walks with a slight limp with the assistance of the cane and her left eye is still blackened from being punched in the face. But she believes it will be a good Christmas for her family. A friend convinced a Santa Claus from a local mall to visit their house — and her young son — on Thursday.
"All of us sat here and we smiled like little kids, and it was the most awesome experience," she said.
Vicky Locke said a protective order from the court has been approved and she plans to file for divorce. Although she said the family tried to speak positively about her husband around their 5-year-old son, she no longer wants contact with him.
His next court date is scheduled for Jan. 4.
What the experience has also taught her, she said, is that there are resources available for victims she didn't know existed. She wasn't aware of the Christmas Box House until the night of the shooting when the state placed her son in temporary protective custody while she was in the hospital.
"There are more resources out there than I ever knew."
A fund to help Locke pay for her medical bills and other expenses was set up at www.gofundme.com/1pd8to.
People seeking help for themselves or someone they know for domestic violence can call the Utah Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465), or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).4 comments on this story
The Utah Domestic Violence Council tabulated 28 domestic violence-related deaths in Utah from July 2010 to June 2011. During that same time, nearly 2,000 protective orders were issued and 3,750 domestic violence related charges were filed statewide.
According to the Utah Department of Public Safety's most recent statewide crime statistics for 2010, the groups most victimized in domestic violence cases are children. The second biggest group of domestic violence victims are boyfriends and girlfriends. Spousal abuse is the third biggest group.