Domestic Violence Group speaks out after La Encantada Shooting

Published: Apr. 17, 2017 at 12:09 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:13 AM MST
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Tucson News Now has been staying on top of the latest developments on the La Encantada restaurant Shooting since it first happened on Friday night. As we've reported, deputies say Tucson Fire Captain Fred Bair shot his ex-wife in the leg and shot and killed the man she was with at Firebirds restaurant, Eliot Cobb.

Tucson News Now is taking a closer look at the dangers and warning signs of domestic violence.

The group Emerge! said there are 25 domestic violence related deaths every year in Pima County. In that same time span, Emerge! said 14,000 people in our community call 911 feeling the need for armed intervention in their relationship.

"Typically speaking by the time we've reached a point where somebody is committing a murder, they have been using abusive tactics for a very long time in that relationship," Emerge! CEO, Ed Mercurio-Sakwa said.

Ed Mercurio-Sakwa, CEO of Emerge!, a center committed to stopping domestic violence in Tucson, said he was saddened to learn of the fatal shooting at Firebirds but says these cases are all too familiar. More than 1200 people across Arizona have died from some form of domestic violence in the last ten years. New numbers show Arizona is above the national average, more than half of those cases involve guns.

Mercurio-Sakwa said many of us will witness something concerning between a couple but we don't want to get involved, so we stay silent, but he says that thought process has to stop. He said domestic violence is a public safety issue and it takes not being afraid to start a conversation with your friend, relative or co-worker if they're showing signs of abuse toward their partner.

"Say hey, I'm seeing some of these behaviors, I'm seeing some of the ways you show up with your partner that seem unsafe that seem disrespectful – I want to support you with that. I'm guessing you don't want to be that way but I'm seeing it happen and I'm worried for her and I'm worried for you. That can often break down those barriers to allow that person to step back and consider a different way," Mercurio-Sakwa said.

Tucson News Now is waiting to hear from Pima County Sheriff Investigators if they ever responded to a domestic violence call at the Bair's residence while the two were married.

Emerge! says if you witness abuse or know someone in an abusive relationship, the best thing to do is confidentially offer the victim help.

The Domestic Violence National Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE. For more information click here.

For more information on Emerge! click here.

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