Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Another Month, Another Horrific Case of Domestic Violence in San Antonio

Posted By on Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 8:10 AM

San Antonio police say they were called out to Shannon Gomez's apartment for a welfare check last Friday night after her concerned mother couldn't get ahold of her. One of Gomez's friends told the San Antonio Express-News that she'd gone missing earlier that day and hadn't shown to pick up her kids from daycare. 

It's unclear whether police already knew Gomez had taken out three protective orders against Samuel Pereida, the father of her children, in the past four years. Or the fact that Pereida had twice been convicted of assaulting Gomez, most recently for a 2014 attack that sent both Pereida and one of their young sons to the hospital, according to court records first reported by Kens5's Dillon Collier. Pereida pleaded guilty to a third degree felony in February, was given credit for the time he served in lockup while his case was pending, and, after just four months in a state correctional facility, was released in July, as Kens5 reported. 

San Antonio police Chief William McManus told reporters the responding officers left the complex Friday night without entering Gomez's apartment because there were no "exigent circumstances." Officers did, however, enter the apartment when they returned the following morning and found Gomez dead from multiple stab wounds. Police say they found Pereida locked in the bathroom suffering from what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds on his wrists and arms. 

Gomez's sister created a GoFundMe page later that day, saying the family needs help to support Gomez's three surviving children (all boys, she says, ages 2, 3, and 7). She wrote this about Pereida: 
"Its hard to even start writing this. To believe what you're about to read is true and happening to my family. My sister has passed away at age 30 due to domestic violence. She was killed by her boyfriend and the father of her sons. She was found stabbed to death in her apartment and her murderer found with the knife and on drugs. He is alive after these events and in poilce custody. This man has brought tragedy and pain to my family [sic]."
The incident is just the latest in what has felt like a year punctuated by shocking and frequent cases of domestic violence or child abuse across the city. In June, police said that Charles Wayne Haltom stabbed his pregnant girlfriend to death before calling 911, confessing to the crime and offering to turn himself in. The same week, a woman returning to her northeast side apartment was confronted by an old boyfriend, who police say then shot her to death before turning the gun on himself. In July, police said another San Antonio woman was shot and killed while trying to shield her friend from an abusive partner. 

Marta Peláez, the CEO of Family Violence Prevention Services (which runs a local shelter that houses on average about 150 abused women and children every night), has told us in the past that child abuse and partner violence "often go hand in hand." San Antonio has seen many alarming examples of the former this year, too. In April, the city made national headlines when authorities found two toddlers chained up for hours in a storm outside their northeast side home. The Bexar County Sheriff's Office told reporters that doctors had confirmed the children suffered from "hundreds of injuries and scars that ranged from fresh injuries to old injuries" that could have taken place "over months or years"; one of the children was reportedly found suffering from hypothermia and a broken arm. Last week, a 21-year-old man told San Antonio police that he killed his girlfriend's 4-year-old child because of stress and frustration over unemployment and mounting bills. 

Even against this backdrop, earlier this year city council mulled cuts to services for some of San Antonio’s most vulnerable residents, including victims of domestic violence. Based on a two-page, nine-question survey on funding priorities that had been sent to council members, city staff proposed shuffling some $1.3 million from safety net programs (like shelters for abused women and children)  to “workforce development” initiatives.

After groups like the P.E.A.C.E. Initiative and Family Violence Prevention Services loudly criticized the plan, the current proposed budget appears to avoid such cuts. 

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