Four out of nine area homicides in 2023 labeled as domestic violence incidents

Roughly half of all area homicides in 2023 labeled domestic incidents
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 7:48 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Investigators say Anthony Parker died after he was shot at 34 North Apartments, along Plum Nearly Lane on Thursday, Sept. 28.

Police say a woman called 911 saying her partner attacked her, and that she shot and killed him.

Investigators spoke with the woman, but have not said whether any charges will be filed.

Leaders at the domestic violence shelter say this is the often deadly outcome of what they call an epidemic.

The numbers in Wilmington over the past year are jarring.

“Most people are killed by someone they know,” said Lt. Willet with WPD.

Roughly half of the nine homicides in the Wilmington area so far this year are domestic incidents. Four in total, with the latest being Thursday night.

“It’s not a number in the shadows, so to speak, but it’s a number that’s there,” said Willet.

That number does not come as a shock to Mandy Houvouras, who works for Open Gate Domestic Violence Services. She says it’s a sad reminder that domestic violence is so pervasive in society, and prevention is something everyone can do.

“When we’re talking about preventing domestic violence homicides, I think we have to look at it from a really holistic approach that starts with primary prevention, so stopping people from becoming perpetrators of domestic violence,” said Houvouras.

Wilmington police agree, saying early abuse can end in tragedy.

“These things can start off small, they can start off mental abuse, verbal abuse, and stuff in the physical abuse and that can go on for a long period of time. And then ultimately, it can end up and somebody dies,” said Lt. Willet. “And that that person dying that could be in self-defense or it could be you know, not in self-defense. It can be straight up just murder.”

Houvouras says one death is too many, but the numbers Wilmington is seeing are far too high.

“I think as a community, we need to figure out how we can intervene before things get to that level, and make sure that folks have support and resources. Because at the end of the day, when there is a death when there is a homicide, that is unfortunate,” said Houvouras.