Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Vigil Marks 'Terrible Year' for Domestic Abuse

By Juanita WestabyThe Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS -- One was shot to death in front of her 12-year-old daughter. Another died helplessly in her crib of smoke inhalation. Yet another was a local police officer killed in the line of duty.

They all are among the victims of domestic violence in Michigan in the past year.

Grand Rapids Police Officer Robert Kozminski's name was read, along with dozens of others, at a candlelight vigil at the YWCA Monday in memory of victims of domestic violence.

Kozminski, 29, died July 8 after he was shot while responding to a domestic violence call on the city's Northeast Side. A suspect remains in custody. Another local victim whose name was read was Grand Rapids attorney Tina Partee-Elder, who was stabbed to death in August, allegedly by her estranged husband. Corey Brown, a friend who knew her for nearly a decade, choked up with emotion as she recounted how Partee-Elder's children, ages 9 and 11, were home at the time of the slaying.

"It was a terrible year," City Commissioner Rosalyn Bliss said. "Every year is terrible, but this year especially."

In addition to Kozminski and Partee-Elder, the death of Byron Center teacher Cristi Curtis, in an apparent murder-suicide by her estranged boyfriend, made for three high-profile cases, Bliss pointed out.
That a teacher, an attorney and a police officer could be claimed by domestic violence shows, "there's really no bounds," Bliss said.

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