DENVER (KDVR) – The family of a 16-year-old girl shot dead in Denver on Monday night say she is a victim of domestic violence.
The teenage mother is in hospital with fatal injuries after her 18-year-old father shot her in the head and committed suicide.
Now her family is urging others to recognize and respond to any signs of domestic violence in teenage relationships.
Domestic violence, a problem among adolescents
During the incident, the teenage baby was left in a parking lot and injured, and the young mother’s grandfather was also shot dead.
This happened around 11:30 p.m. in a parking lot at an apartment complex in Block 10000 of East Girard Avenue.
The girl’s stepfather said the argument started when the baby’s father tried to pick up the baby.
âShe is breastfeeding. There was no way he could take this baby, âsaid the teenage mother’s stepfather, James Duggins.
Duggins said he sensed signs of domestic violence were starting, and Denver Police confirm an abusive relationship played a role in the shooting.
Duggins wants people to know that domestic violence is a big deal among teens too.
âPlease, if they tell you they’re suicidal, they’re suicidal. Get them help, âDuggins said.
âMake sure their partner is getting help as well. Because they’re in a relationship that they can’t get out of and feel like they can’t get out of.
âThey need help,â Duggins told us outside his apartment.
Where to go for help with domestic violence
Almost 1.5 million high school students in the United States report being abused by their partner each year, and 33% of teens who experience dating violence don’t tell anyone.
Counselors at the Porchlight Family Justice Center say leaving a partner marks one of the most dangerous phases of an abusive relationship.
They too try to prevent such scenes from happening again.
They recommend asking for help.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call the Porchlight Family Justice Center at 330-271-6100 or visit their website for more information.
Other resources on domestic violence include:
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