A central Florida woman was shot and killed in her workplace by a stalker just one week after a judge denied her request for an emergency order of protection against the man, authorities said.
Alissa Blanton, 23, worked with her husband at an AT&T call center near the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
When the couple returned to work from lunch Monday, they headed for their separate workstations. Shortly thereafter, Blanton was confronted by Roger Troy, 61, who had allegedly been pursuing her for two years, police said.
Blanton called her husband and asked for assistance, police say. Brent Blanton hurried to his wife's desk but was unable to reach her in time.
Alissa Blanton, 23, said she quit her job as a waitress to get away from a customer. The man stalked her over the next two years and finally killed her at her new workplace, police said.
"The suspect came armed with the firearm and shot her multiple times, and then, we believe, he turned the gun on himself and shot himself," Orange County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Susan Soto told news8.net.
The horrific shooting was detailed in several phone calls that Blanton's terrified co-workers made to police.
"I was driving into work, parking my vehicle, and I saw this gentleman shooting this woman several times. Then I ducked my head because I didn't want him to see me and shoot me. And then it looks like he probably shot himself, because he's lying on the ground next to her," said one female caller.
"We heard shots. I saw someone fall to the ground," said another caller.
Brent Blanton also placed a call to 911. In it, he is heard anxiously talking to his wife as she lay bleeding on the ground.
"Baby, I love you. Keep breathing. Oh my God. Come on, baby!" he said.
Paramedics transported Blanton to a local hospital, where she later died. Troy was pronounced dead at the scene.
Calls for comment from the Orange County Sheriff's Department were not immediately returned, but in the aftermath of Monday's shooting, Soto summed up the events.
In a request for an order of protection, Blanton said Troy had been stalking her for the past two years. The two first met when she worked as a waitress at a Hooters restaurant in Merritt Island, Fla. Troy, a Cocoa Beach, Fla., businessman and regular customer, allegedly began harassing her on a regular basis. She said she turned down his requests for her phone number but eventually relented and provided him with her e-mail address.
Blanton said that at one point her boss had to get involved because Troy kept attempting to hug her and would follow her to her car when her shift ended.
"He has said several times that he spent so much money there and on me, and he doesn't deserve to be treated this way," she wrote in her complaint. "After this incident, he stopped sitting in my section, and the e-mails started about how terrible I am and all about an ex-boyfriend I was dating."
The alleged harassment continued. In 2008, Blanton, in desperation, quit her job just to get away from Troy. That failed to end her torment, she said.
"I moved to Orlando to be closer to a new job, and he began showing up there and e-mailing about seeing me," she wrote. "I reported it. Then I got married and moved back to Brevard County, and letters are coming and stalking here also."
In one e-mail, Troy expressed anger at Blanton because she had recently gotten married.
"What in the hell is wrong with you? My payment for caring about a young woman and how she screwed up her life," Troy wrote in one of the e-mails included in her request for an order of protection.
In other e-mails, he allegedly called Blanton a "tramp" and a "whore" and made comments about her weight.
"You are the poster girl for 'beauty is only skin deep,'" reads one of the e-mails.
Despite Blanton's 72-page petition, Brevard County Circuit Judge John Dean Moxley was not convinced that the situation was dire. Last week, he denied her request for emergency protection.
Following the shooting, Moxley told the Orlando Sentinel he had not been able to determine whether Troy's actions met the legal definition of stalking.
"As a judge you have to follow the law. You're not omniscient. God bless her soul," he said.
Moxley is now under review by the Judicial Qualifications Commission.
But even if the judge had granted her request, it's unlikely a protection order would have saved Blanton's life, said Houston crime victims' advocate Andy Kahan.
"They are only as good as the person who wants to honor it," Kahan told AOL News. "Other than that, the reality is, it's merely words on a piece of paper. If someone does not want to abide by it, then a protective order is not going to stop someone from achieving their goal."
Kahan says stalking is a serious offense that can ultimately lead to sexual assault, kidnapping or, as in this case, murder.
"There is no universal way for dealing with these types of cases," Kahan said. "Each case has to be looked at it on its own merit."
While protective orders are not always effective, Kahan said they are necessary and important tools.
"Victims need to keep making reports, get it on the record and don't ignore it," Kahan said. "It's important for victims to get a protective order for law enforcement purposes. If a person does begin stalking and harassing them, it gives law enforcement the leverage they need to take action."
Meanwhile, memorial services are being planned for Blanton in Florida and in her hometown of De Soto, Mo.
"It's too hard to accept that someone could hurt someone like that in such a horrible, horrible, horrible way," her best friend, Kayce D'Alessandro, told Fox News. "She was a complete and utter sweetheart. ... She was very shy, but at the same time, outgoing. She loved to dance, she loved to sing, she loved art."
This story and and black in America on CNN have me bawling my eyes out and so angry right now