State Leaders Reflect On Domestic Violence Outcomes In Wake Of OKC Murder-Suicide

The Violence Policy Center ranks Oklahoma second in the nation for people killed by their domestic partners. State data shows more than half of those cases involved firearms. The review board through the office of Attorney General Gentner Drummond issues recommendations to help prevent domestic violence deaths.

Wednesday, May 1st 2024, 10:29 pm

By: News 9, Jordan Fremstad


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The Violence Policy Center ranks Oklahoma second in the nation for people killed by their domestic partners. State data shows more than half of those cases involved firearms.  

On April 22, Oklahoma City Police identified the five people who were found dead in a home in southwest Oklahoma City near Yukon. Investigators said it was believed that the suspect armed himself with a gun and killed his wife and three of their children, before turning the gun on himself. 

This story illustrates a larger issue in Oklahoma. YWCA vice president Brandon Pasley said he has read too many stories -- events he tries to prevent. “We turn on the news these days and we see domestic violence and domestic violence homicides in a way we never have before,” Pasley said. “I wish I could say that that story is unique. We’re tired of seeing the same stories that you report on. I think also -- we’re hopeful.” 

Pasley said his optimism comes from a board he serves on -- the Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board. The board educates the community through data that reveals Oklahoma’s domestic violence crisis. “We have been in the top ten for fifteen out of the last twenty-five years,” Pasley said. “Look at the statistics. This is all part of a landscape.” 

The board's report said more than half of domestic violence deaths involve a firearm. “20 percent increase since 2011,” Pasley said.  

The review board through the office of Attorney General Gentner Drummond issues recommendations to help prevent domestic violence deaths. “[Domestic violence is] horrific. It’s tragic. It’s not my Oklahoma,” Drummond said. “I wanna do everything I can to help reverse that trend.” 

Organizations like the YWCA help identify people at risk. “But we can’t do that without the support of this state,” Pasley said. 

The board recommended more than $16 million in state funding for domestic violence programs with federal dollars drying up. “We’re looking at another forty percent cut,” Pasley said. 

Pasley said priorities must change – to avoid another headline that leaves a community wondering where its systems failed. “What can we do as a community to prevent these types of homicides moving forward?” Pasley said. 

Another recommendation from the DVFRB includes better training for 911 operators so they can better identify domestic violence situations. 

A reminder to anyone experiencing domestic violence -- Oklahoma’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence safe line is 1-800-522-SAFE (7233). 

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