DENVER (KDVR) — The family of a 16-year-old shot in Denver Monday night says she is a victim of domestic violence.
The teen mother is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after her child’s 18-year-old father shot her in the head and shot and killed himself.
Now, her family is urging others to recognize and act upon any signs of domestic violence in teen relationships.
Domestic violence a problem among teenagers
During the incident, the teenagers’ infant child was dropped in a parking lot and hurt, and the young mother’s grandfather was shot, as well.
This happened around 11:30 p.m. in an apartment complex parking lot in the 10000 block of East Girard Avenue.
The girl’s stepfather said the argument started when the baby’s father tried to take the infant.
“She is breastfeeding. There’s no way in the world he was going to be able to take that baby,” said the teen mother’s stepfather, James Duggins.
Duggins said he had felt signs of domestic abuse were beginning, and Denver Police confirm an abusive relationship played a role in the shooting.
Duggins wants people to know domestic violence is also a big problem among teenagers.
“Please, if they tell you they are suicidal, they are suicidal. Get them some help,” Duggins said.
“Make sure their partner gets some help, too. Because they are in a relationship they can’t get out of that they feel they can’t get out of.
“They need help,” Duggins told us outside his apartment.
Where to go for domestic violence help
Nearly 1.5 million high school students in the U.S. report being abused by their partners every year, and 33% of teenage dating abuse victims never tell anyone about it.
Counselors at the Porchlight Family Justice Center say leaving a partner marks one of the most dangerous phases in an abusive relationship.
They, too, are trying to keep scenes like this from happening again.
They recommend reaching out for help.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call the Porchlight Family Justice Center at 330-271-6100 or visit their website for more information.
Other domestic violence resources include: