After a murder-suicide in which a 29-year-old man reportedly shot his girlfriend and then himself in Washington Heights last Tuesday, organizations dedicated to ending domestic violence, Dominican community groups and elected officials staged a protest outside the scene of the crime, El Diario La Prensa reported. The article is translated from Spanish below.
Last Thursday, a group of activists and elected officials protested in Manhattan to condemn the growing problem of domestic violence in the city.
“We are here to denounce violence against women in the community,” said Rosita Romero, Executive Director of the Dominican Women’s Development Center. “The level of violence against women in our community is out of control.”
The protest took place in front of 189 Audubon Ave. in Washington Heights, where Sergio Azcona, 29, shot his girlfriend, Michelle De La Cruz, 26, and then took his own life around 1 a.m. last Tuesday.
“This is a terrible tragedy and points to the seriousness of domestic violence in our community,” Romero said. She explained that the goals of the protest were to educate the community on how to prevent similar situations and to demand an increase in funding for more services to women victims of domestic violence.
María Lizardo, Deputy Director of Client Services at the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, cited statistics gathered by the New York Police Department. In 2011, she noted, 2,342 incidents of domestic violence were reported to the 30th Precinct; 2,099 were reported to the 33rd Precinct; and 2,534 were reported to the 34th Precinct.
“Given these surprising numbers, we expect funding for programs that support victims of domestic violence to increase, and that there not be any more budget cuts,” she said.
Another recent case of domestic violence took place last Monday around 9 p.m. Luz Paulino, 33, was found dead at 40-05 Hampton Street in Corona, Queens. Although the police have not arrested anyone yet and are still investigating the murder, there were reports that Paulino’s boyfriend is a suspect. [NY1 has since reported that Paulino's ex-husband and the father of her child, Lozada Maximiliano, 34, has been arrested and charged in Paulino's murder.]
Edited by Justin Chan