Report finds Nevada women at high risk of being killed by partne - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Report finds Nevada women at high risk of being killed by partners

The barrel of a gun appears in this undated file image. (FILE/FOX5) The barrel of a gun appears in this undated file image. (FILE/FOX5)

On Dec. 7, 2012,  Esther Maestas was visiting her daughter, Nichole Nick, in Las Vegas when she says Nick's boyfriend, Robert Brown, broke into the apartment. Maestas, Nick and Nick's niece were inside the home when Brown barged in with a gun and a knife.

"I said, 'Oh my God! He has a gun! Call the cops!' And then he shot her," Maestas said.  

Maestas was able to escape with her life, but Nick died from multiple stab and gunshot wounds. Maestas said Brown pointed a gun at Nick's 3-year-old niece, but the toddler survived. Maestas said she remembers the day like it was yesterday.

"I was shot. I don't know how many times he shot me. He walked over me, and he was going to leave, then - bam! bam! bam! - he emptied his clip on me. He wanted to make sure he got me. He wanted all three of us dead," she said. 

As horrifying as this story is, a new report indicates situations like this are not uncommon in Nevada. The report, by Everytown for Gun Safety and the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence, compiles statistics concerning gun deaths from 2010 to 2014. It found women in Nevada are 65 percent more likely to be shot and killed by a romantic partner than women in other states.

The Shade Tree in Nevada provides shelter and counseling for women of domestic violence. Workers there said the report is alarming but not unexpected. 

"Domestic violence is one of the most horrific things we face in Nevada," said Marlene Richter, executive director of The Shade Tree. "Nevada has been at the top of the list for all these different indicators of [domestic violence] for a lot of years."  

The report says of the women shot to death by their partners, in one-fourth of those cases the shooters had criminal histories including previous convictions for domestic violence. Brown had been convicted of attempted murder and felony domestic abuse in California. 

The study suggests including criminal background checks for gun purchasers and stronger laws for people convicted of domestic violence, including forbidding them from obtaining a firearm. The backers of the study say these are steps in the right direction for saving lives. The National Rifle Association disagrees. 

As for Maestas, she too disagrees. According to her, stricter gun laws would not have saved her daughter's life. 

"He barged into the house with a gun in one hand and a knife in the other," she said. 

Brown is currently working with his lawyer on a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the death penalty. 

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