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Mother had pulled a gun before, judge told

TAMPA — Monday wasn't the first time Sylvia Renee Volk pulled out a gun during a family feud, her daughters said.

Just last month, she grabbed a gun from her bedroom during an argument with her children, sending three of them running from her apartment, her adult daughter Leslie Volk told a judge Wednesday.

After listening to the family and reading reports from prior police visits to Volk's New Tampa home, Circuit Judge Tracy Sheehan decided that two minor children should be placed in foster care.

"There's pervasive violence in the home," Sheehan said.

Volk's two adult daughters protested. Elizabeth Blackshear, 24, and her younger sister, Leslie Volk, wanted to care for a 9-year-old brother and the 16-year-old boy Volk is accused of shooting in the arm this week.

But Sheehan said the March 13 gun incident, the Monday shooting and Blackshear's domestic violence issues with an ex-boyfriend meant there's too much violence in the home.

Volk, 44, was charged Monday with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Police say she pulled a gun on her teenage son and fired twice. One bullet hit him in the upper arm, police said.

Monday's argument started because Volk thought her 16-year-old son was trying to get money to buy marijuana, Sheehan said.

During the argument, Volk told her 9-year-old son to go to his room, according to a probable cause affidavit. Soon after, the young boy saw his teenage brother enter the room, bloody. The teen told his brother that his mother had shot him, Sheehan read.

Sheehan ordered that both boys receive counseling. "They've both seen a lot," she said.

Volk, a registered nurse who works at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center, sat stoically during the hearing. Blackshear wiped tears as she told the judge that her mom was a good mom.

"She's just been overwhelmed," she said. "She went back to school and went to work for us with no help from anyone."

Volk filed a request for an injunction against Blackshear after the March 13 argument. She dropped it after Blackshear moved out.

"We might get mad at each other," Blackshear said. "But those types of things happen."

Police records show that officers were called to the house twice in 2007, once for a child abuse investigation. Police went to the home to investigate allegations of domestic violence and prescription drug abuse, Sheehan noted. Charges weren't filed.

In 2009, police responded to reports of a runaway at the home and an alleged battery. That year, police fielded a call that the teenage son punched his mother in the face, Sheehan said.

After Sheehan explained the boys would be put in foster care, Leslie Volk sobbed. She and her sister left the courtroom and hugged their brothers. The 9-year-old cried and the 16-year-old declared, "I don't know them. I'm not going with them."

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

Mother had pulled a gun before, judge told 04/07/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 11:06pm]
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