Atkins served protection from abuse order

Seventeen firearms turned over to police
June 9, 2014

The estranged wife of state Rep. John Atkins has filed a restraining order against him because she said she is scared for her safety.

The protection from abuse order signed June 2 expires Friday, June 13, when Atkins, D-Millsboro, and Heather Atkins are scheduled for a Family Court hearing.

In the filing, Heather Atkins said she moved out of the home April 22 because of verbal abuse and a breakdown of their marriage.

“I am scared of his escalating behavior toward me and while around our children,” she wrote in the order.

Throughout the report, Heather Atkins says John Atkins slapped her, threw her to the floor and screamed at her in front of their two children.

Millsboro police confiscated 17 firearms from Atkins home.

John Atkins could not be reached for comment.

Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, said it is standard procedure for someone to relinquish their weapons to a police jurisdiction once a protection from abuse order has been signed. He also said they are one-sided documents.

Schwartzkopf said he was reluctant to comment because there are always two sides to a story.

“This is a very personal issue,” he said. “I would caution people not to come to conclusions based on a headline.”

In 2006, Atkins, who was a Republican at the time, was stopped in Ocean City for suspected driving under the influence and a few hours later was charged with offensive touching in connection with an argument with his wife, Heather.

He resigned his seat but was re-elected in 2008, running as a Democrat.