The recent killing of former Arizona State University football player Brandon Falkner is another reminder that domestic violence can ensnare not just the abused but those around them, reports the Arizona Republic. Police say ASU tailback Loren Wade shot Falkner because he was talking to Wade’s ex-girlfriend. The ex-girlfriend previously had been harassed and threatened by Wade, say police reports.
Across Arizona every year, people who are not involved in abusive relationships are falling victim to domestic violence. Children, new boyfriends, parents, even acquaintances are being hurt or killed because they know the person being abused. “It’s always a danger,” said Connie Phillips of the Sojourner Center, a shelter for battered women and their families. “That violence can be directed not only toward the victim – the girlfriend, the boyfriend, the partner – but can be easily directed at someone who that person is associated with.” Last year, 83 people in Arizona died in domestic violence murders. Four were killed by the ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands of their girlfriends. Two children were killed by their mothers’ ex-boyfriends. In Phoenix, an analysis of 63 domestic violence homicides between 2002 and 2004 found seven dead victims who were not in the abusive relationship. Among the dead were three new boyfriends and an estranged wife’s roommate. “It all comes back to control,” said Phoenix police Detective Heather Maldonado, who works domestic violence cases.