LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Lawton police have officially declared last week’s shooting in southwest Lawton to be a murder-suicide. That marks the city’s third case of deadly domestic violence this year.
Lawton Police say the first fatality happened on January 18th. Angel Connor was shot at an apartment complex in Lawton by her boyfriend.
Then, on January 29, LPD says Kindra Blevins was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend, Aaron Purdy.
The latest happened on Valentine’s Day... Lawton police were called to a shooting near Southwest 45th and Park Avenue. That is where they found Mari Medina and Quayshaun Bell, both dead. Police said Bell shot and killed Medina, then turned the gun on himself.
Marie Detty New Directions in Lawton and The Safe Center in Duncan are two organizations in southwest Oklahoma that help prevent domestic violence and help victims experiencing it.
The board president of The Safe Center, Laura Goldring, said domestic violence is prevalent in Oklahoma.
“Women are murdered through domestic violence at a very high rate in our state," said Goldring. "Men are victims of domestic violence, as well. It’s a crime that doesn’t discriminate based on your gender, or age or socioeconomic status.”
Case manager at Marie Detty New Directions, Latricia Kippers, said they have already handled more domestic violence cases than usual, just in the month of January, alone.
“As of January of 2020, we’ve had 14 women in shelter, 18 children. We’ve received 12 crisis calls, and we’ve gone out on nine sexual assault calls," said Kippers. "So, those numbers show us that it is a need and it is a point for people to reach out and get help.”
Both organizations offer several resources to those experiencing domestic violence, such as creating a safety plan to help the victims withdraw from the situation in a safe way and filing protective orders on behalf of the victim with the court system.
Goldring said that past bad behavior is often repeated in the future. She said that another way of prevention is looking up your potential partner’s criminal history to see if there are any prior domestic violence charges.
If you think you or someone you know may be a victim of domestic violence, Goldring and Kippers encourage you to call their 24/7 hotlines:
Marie Detty New Directions hotline: 580-357-2500
The Safe Center hotline: 580-252-4357