In the last two weeks alone, the First Coast has seen how tragically domestic violence can end.
On Monday, Ashlee Rucker was shot and killed and her sister critically injured in a Westside condo. Police arrested Ashlee's boyfriend Chad Absher in connection with the shooting on Wednesday.
Twelve days prior on October 19, 3-year old Connor Mickens was shot and killed allegedly by his mother's ex-boyfriend.
The suspect, Brian Littles is also behind bars and facing felony charges.
Mickens' family held a visitation for Connor at Phillips Mortuary Wednesday evening. The boy's aunt, P.K. Mickens, says she wishes her own background in domestic violence education could have prevented the shooting that killed her nephew and wounded her sister, Rashaela Mickens.
According to the police report, Littles entered the home at night through an unlocked window and began shooting. Connor sustained a fatal wound to the head and Rashaela was shot in the leg.
"I'm her sister first. I tried to reaching out but so many women are in denial," P.K. said. "For me being a domestic violence educator for the past ten years, it hit home for this to happen to my nephew."
P.K. said her sister had ended her relationship with Littles in the weeks before the shooting.
P.K.'s organization, Divine Intervention & Prevention Foundation (DIP) at 2078 Cassat Avenue offers support groups and workshops for women who are dealing with domestic violence issues.
A domestic violence survivor herself, P.K. said DIP gives women options, even for those who plan to stay.
She wishes her own sister had a safety plan before deciding to break up with Littles.
"[My sister] wanted to totally move on from [Littles] and he just didn't understand that," P.K. said. "And because of that, a tragic situation happened and we'll live with it for the rest of our lives."
P.K. said DIP will continue to raise awareness and empower women; she hopes Connor's story will remind women and mothers what abuse truly costs.
"My prayer for this city is that we become more passionate about raising awareness against domestic violence...that's justice for me," P.K. said.
www.DIPFoundation.ORG (904) 438-4347
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