- Associated Press - Sunday, June 8, 2014

RIVERSIDE, California (AP) - Domestic violence killings nearly doubled last year in Riverside County, an increase that authorities and experts are at a loss to explain, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Last year, 34 of the Southern California county’s 93 homicides were related to domestic violence, according to The Press-Enterprise, which cited county law enforcement agencies (https://bit.ly/1kaN2pC). In the previous year, 19 of the county’s 80 homicides involved troubled relationships.

The 2013 deaths include a man who fatally beat his girlfriend in Menifee, a man who shot and killed a Riverside bystander who was calling 911 to report him and an estranged husband who killed his wife in Corona after discovering her with another man.

Eliza Daniely-Woolfolk, chief executive officer of Alternatives to Domestic Violence, said she sees more violence related to mental health and substance abuse.

Financial stress can be another culprit, said Daniely-Woolfolk, whose organization assists victims in Riverside County. The region was hit hard by the recession and its unemployment rate is well above state and national levels.

Paulette Sullivan Moore, vice president of public policy for the National Network to End Domestic Violence, said her organization believes access to firearms might be responsible for domestic disputes turning deadly. Twenty of the 34 domestic violence killings in Riverside County in 2013 involved guns.

Nationwide, there has been a decline in homicides related to domestic violence to 2,261 in 2012 from 2,478 in 2008, according to FBI statistics. Figures for 2013 are not available.

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Information from: The Press-Enterprise, https://www.pe.com

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