Man shoots ex-wife, self

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 2, 2002


VACHERIE – A Wallace man, apparently upset over the breakup with his ex-wife, broke into her Vacherie home Sunday morning, shot her in the head and then killed himself.

The victim, Shanell Meggs, 31, remained in critical condition at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center as of press time Tuesday afternoon. Her ex-husband, Nelson Melvin Grows, 36, died at the scene after committing the shooting with a .22-caliber rifle. He had been a resident of 188 W. Fifth St., Wallace.

St. James Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief of Detectives Sid Berthelot said Meggs, a clerk at Louisiana Power and Light in Luling, spent Saturday night away from her home at 1423 Magnolia Heights St. with relatives. She returned home Sunday at 10:15 a.m., accompanied by her children, ages 10, 4, and 2. She told the children to remain in the parked car in the yard while she went inside to pick up a few things.

Moments later, a rifle shot rang out.

Some time the night before, Grows had broken into the house through the back door and lay in wait for her return. After hearing the gunshot, the couple’s 10-year-old son dashed into the house and discovered his severely wounded mother and still-alive father. Berthelot said Grows told his son he had shot Meggs, and then he shot himself. The boy later called the sheriff’s office from a neighbor’s house.

The couple met when Grows was at Second Ward High School. Meggs attended St. James High School, according to Grows’ mother, Clementine. After the birth of the couple’s son, they married and had two more children, a second boy and a girl. After three years of marriage, the couple parted ways a year and a half ago.

“They were really in love,” Clementine Grows recalled. After the split, “He’d get so depressed. He used to sit down and cry.”

Despite his attempts to reconcile, Meggs had moved on with a life of her own, raising the children, Clementine Grows said.

On Tuesday, Clementine Grows said she believed doctors were discussing whether to take Meggs off life-support systems, but she said she had not heard anything official. Hospital personnel confirmed Meggs was alive as of Tuesday morning.

Services for Grows are Saturday at Morning Star Baptist Church in Wallace, after which his mother said, “I’m going to bury him in land behind the house.”

The children are staying with their grandmother.

“The youngest don’t know anything yet. It’s been real hard on both sides of the family,” Clementine Grows said.