Workplace shooting victim had restraining order against husband

By Tonya Maxwell

BREVARD - Carrie Byrd had won a temporary restraining order against her husband after she alleged in court paperwork that he assaulted and verbally abused her, forcing her to leave their home March 11.

Under the order, Byrd also was awarded temporary custody of their 3- and 4-year-old sons and use of their Pisgah Forest home through Wednesday.

But by Wednesday, Byrd, 32, was in Mission Hospitals in critical but stable condition. Her husband, Billy Ray Byrd, also 32, was charged with shooting her Tuesday, the day before the couple were scheduled to appear in a Transylvania County court for a hearing on the restraining order.

Billy Ray Byrd was being held in lieu of $50,000 bond in the Buncombe County jail. He was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, one for causing serious injury. He was also charged with violating a domestic violence restraining order and assault by pointing a gun.

Carrie Byrd was shot in the head with a .22-caliber rifle at her workplace, Olsten Staffing Services in Arden.

"I'm told that at her place of work, she was able to speak and today she has been able to smile at her family. We have great hopes," said attorney Ladson Hart, who is representing Carrie Byrd in the civil matter.

She had first requested a domestic violence protective order against her husband a year ago. "He chased me as I ran to my truck and grabbed my hair and jerked me out and down to the ground, then hit me again on the head," she wrote in court documents.

Billy Ray Byrd was later charged with violating the domestic violence protective order issued in that case, but the matter was dismissed when his wife did not appear to testify, according to court paperwork.

The file was closed in July 2003 after the court found the couple were trying to reconcile.

Attorney Mack McKeller is representing Billy Ray Byrd in the current civil matter and said he did not want to comment on the pending case.

"It's a tragic thing, and we're all praying for Carrie," he said.