Police said a man shot and wounded a woman before killing himself.
The number of domestic violence-related homicides so far this year has already surpassed the total number from all of last year.
Domestic violence shelters in the area said they are currently at or near capacity.
Advocates said this is a complex issue, but they are glad people are really starting to see just how severe it is.
It is a statistic that no one wants to see, but advocates said people have to see.
“Unfortunately, it’s becoming fairly commonplace,” Mary O’Doherty, the executive director of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network (ODVN), said.
Tuesday night, Columbus Police responded to a domestic violence call at the 4800 block of Glendon Road. Investigators found a 50-year-old woman and a 49-year-old man suffering from gunshot wounds. Police said the man shot the woman before fatally shooting himself. The woman is hospitalized in a life-threatening condition.
O’Doherty said this rise in domestic violence incidents has been an unsettling trend for a few years now. However, she said a potential reason for this visible trend is society is now labeling them as what they truly are.
“I think we are doing a better job labeling these homicides and homicide suicides and any kind of shooting that involves a suicide,” O’Doherty said. “So, I think we have more of them, but I also think, just as important, we are better understanding what’s really happening.”
According to ODVN, 42 percent of domestic violence fatalities in the state last year involved perpetrator suicide.
Columbus police said there have been 12 domestic violence-related homicides so far this year. Last year, there were a total of eight. According to police, there have also been 29 domestic violence-related felonious assaults so far this year.
Jen Martin, the director of operations at Lutherans Social Services Choices (LSS Choices), said their shelter capacity is 47 percent higher than this time last year.
“Immediately as we open new spaces, it is full,” Martin said. “So we are often trying to juggle families in shelters, sometimes sending them to a hotel for a short time.”
Martin said everyone’s situation is different, and it often takes survivors five to seven incidents to get them to really leave the relationship.
“Some people do walk in and they are like, ‘I’m out and I am good and I am never going back,’ and other times, it’s not going to be that way, not that clear for everyone,” Martin said.
She said the spike in incidents and those seeking shelter shows this problem is real.
“We are always in need of more resources to support the individuals who are fleeing these types of situations,” Martin said. “If there is nowhere to go, there is more of a likelihood of lethality and we don’t want to be in a situation where there is no place for someone to go.”
The Ohio Domestic Violence Network said the shelters test for lethality indicators in the situation, and almost every time, a person has admitted that those indicators are high.