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Three First Coast domestic disputes in one weekend; two fatal

11:02 PM, Mar 10, 2013   |    comments
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Photo taken by Janey Denmark. Woman driving white Ford Focus flees Post Office on Blanding after allegedly shooting a man and causes a crash at Timuquana and Seaboard. Police arrested the woman.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla---Three reported domestic disputes on the First Coast in one weekend - two of them ending fatally.

The Hubbard House and other local outreach centers for domestic violence prevention aim to stop these fatal domestic disputes.

"Every year people end up dead who never called the police," said Ellen Siler, Director of the Hubbard House.

On Sunday, Police say witnesses told them a man and woman were having a domestic dispute at the Blanding Boulevard Post Office when the woman allegedly shot and killed a man before fleeing the scene and causing an accident on Timuquana Road and Seaboard Avenue. Officers were able to arrest her after the accident. Police have not released any names or description of the relationship between the two, but it's an example of how a domestic argument and escalate quickly.

Story: Man shot and killed at post office

"It's only when a person looks back that they can say well that could have been a warning sign, and that could have been a warning sign, but they may not be aware of it at the time," said Siler.

This may also be the case for another domestic argument in Clay County on Saturday that ended with a husband reportedly accidentally running over his wife. Police say Brook Collier and his wife were arguing earlier. They say he backed into his wife while she was chasing after the car. He is now in jail for leaving the scene of an accident. His wife, Nola Collier, died from the injuries.

Story: Woman hit and killed by car driven by husband

Siler says 11 people died as a result of a domestic violence in Jacksonville last year. Siler says locally there are around seven-thousand domestic violence police reports a year, but national statistics suggest only one in four victims report the incident.

"The litmus test I would use is if a relationship makes you feel bad about yourself, it's time to talk to someone about that relationship," said Siler.

A third incident occurred in Bradford County. Ronald Gassaway, a Sheriff's deputy was arrested and is accused of getting into a physical altercation with his wife after a domestic dispute. He is being held without bond.

Story: Domestic battery lands reserve deputy in jail

Siler says too many times the violence is not going unnoticed by surrounding friends and family, but is going unreported. 

"Too often after someone ends up dead we'll hear from family, friends, coworkers I was afraid that this was going to happen, I knew that there was violence happening, I suspected there was violence happening," she said.

While the shelter aims to help victims - it also faces its own challenges due to funding. Siler says over the last few years they've seen 12% less in funding every year due to the economy. As of now about 70% of their total revenue comes from community support and other sources - 17% is federal dollars - and about 14% comes from state and city grants.

Domestic Violence Resources:

Duval County

Hubbard House 24-hour hotline 904-354-3114.

Clay County

Quigley House 24-hour hotline 904-284-0061

Nassau County

Micah's Place hotline 1-800-500-1119

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