WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Shortly before 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 16, West Des Moines police responded to a call from a woman on the 9000 block of Copper Drive saying her significant other had shot her.
When officers arrived, the woman was found injured, and 42-year-old Chad Michaels was found dead with a gunshot injury. The woman was transported to the hospital to be treated for serious injuries.
It's a type of story that's becoming too familiar.
"These instances of hearing about these fatalities are becoming more and more common, especially in the last six to eight weeks here in Iowa," said Lindsay Pingel, Director of Community Engagement with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Just a few of those tragedies — Danielle Remily and Emma Parker were shot and killed in December, with the suspect, Jason Rothman, having a prior relationship with Parker.
And in June, Eden Montang and Vivian Flores were killed in a shooting at Cornerstone Church in Ames. The suspect, Johnathan Lee Whitlatch, was Montang's ex-boyfriend.
"If somebody has recently left, they have broken off a relationship, that is the time that the dynamics of domestic violence which are powering control kind of evaporate, and it makes the survivor most vulnerable," Pingel said.
According to the latest report from the Iowa Attorney General's Office, 12 people were killed in domestic violence incidents between January and August in 2022. During the same time period in 2021, 17 people were killed. If you are worried about a friend or family member who may be in a dangerous situation, advocates say the best thing you can do is to follow whatever a victim says they need.
"Let someone know you're there for them. If they need anything, you know, reach out. But let the survivor or the person you're concerned about take the lead on what safety looks like for them," Pingel said.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and you're in need of resources, you can contact the Iowa Victim Service Call Center's 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-770-1650.