9OYS Crime Watch
'Oh my God, he's here': Police reports tell story of domestic violence victim
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The police report states someone said she yelled, "Oh my God, he's here." But by the time officers arrived, Claudia Pascual was dead -- shot by her ex-boyfriend, James Leonard, who later took his own life. That happened in February in Tucson. Police reports recently obtained by 9 On Your Side show what happened that dark day -- also revealing the history of an abusive relationship, from which we can learn.
The Tucson Police Department documents show Pascual had a restraining order against Leonard. Pascual told friends he kept coming back.
“He was continuing to stalk her and show up at her home, show up here at work, show up at the gym, sit outside of her house, continually begging her to take him back,” friend Richelle Jasso said. “She was refusing and just wanting him to leave her alone."
Pascual told friends she'd bought a gun, but the reports show police found it after she was murdered in a drawer.
A case of terrorizing in Tucson much like a domestic violence shooting near Milwaukee this week.
Police say Radcliffe Haughton stormed a spa, shooting and killing his wife, Zina, and two of her coworkers. She, too, had a restraining order. The couple also had a history of domestic violence.
Police dash cam video shows Zina calling 9-1-1 a few weeks ago, according to ABC News. Law enforcement took a picture of swelling and scrapes on her face. She first told officers it was just makeup.
“It's tragic that it can very often be very hard and very difficult for women to leave those relationships,” said Susie Huhn, executive director of Casa de los Niños in Tucson. “Sometimes, they're financially tied to those relationships. Sometimes they feel there's nowhere else to go.”
9 On Your Side asked Huhn about restraining orders, which are part of the stories of both Pascual and Haughton. Do they work?
“I think they can work,” Huhn said. “They definitely can serve a purpose, but it has to be much more than a restraining order. If you have someone that is a threat to you, you have to have all kinds of safety plans and contingency plans in place.”
Huhn has a special concern for children in these relationships. Police reported Pascual had a young child.
“For children witnessing domestic violence, it can be traumatic and have life-long impact on the children,” she said, adding they need professional help and counseling.
Also in need of help are the victims and the perpetrators in these violent relationships, Huhn said. There is a number of resources in southern Arizona, including hotlines. Click here for a listing
9 On Your Side reporter Kevin Keen asked Huhn, “Do family and friends have a role? Do they have a responsibility?” “I think they definitely have a role and responsibility,” she answered. “Just like any kind of abusive situations, sometimes those that are in the thick of things are the last ones to actually recognize it as an abuse or as a bad situation.”