During the height of the pandemic, Chasity Cooper decided it was time to leave her abusive relationship. Cooper called her mom, Angela Brooks, and told her the plan: She’d pay her boyfriend money she owed him, say goodbye, and then head to stay with relatives in Atlanta.
The next night, Brooks got another call, a FaceTime from her 10-year-old granddaughter, Nie’Mae. Nie’Mae asked for help, then flipped the camera and showed Brooks a horrifying scene: Cooper’s body on the floor, a few feet away from another body — Nie’Mae’s 6-year-old sister, Doryan. Cooper’s boyfriend had shot them all, as well as Cooper’s teenage daughter, Zoriya. Nie’Mae and Zoriya would live. Doryan and Cooper would not.
In America, if you’re shot by another person, you’re much more likely to survive than die; two-thirds of gunshot victims eventually make it home. But for child victims of domestic gun violence, those outcomes are flipped.
Doryan was one of at least 621 children shot and killed in a domestic violence incident in the last five years — an all-too-common form of violence that often plays out at home and receives a fraction of the media coverage dedicated to school shootings, which are both less frequent and less deadly. Eight times as many children were shot and killed in domestic violence incidents as in school shootings from 2018 through 2022, The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia reveals in a sweeping investigation, published this week in partnership with USA TODAY. Most of those children were intentionally shot by a parent, stepparent, or guardian — oftentimes collateral damage in attacks targeting romantic partners.
“It’s to hurt that victim,” said Ruth Glenn, president of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and herself a survivor of domestic abuse. “‘You will never, ever have power. You will never, ever control. And I am willing to annihilate my children, your children to watch you suffer.’”
From The Trace
Dangerous Homes: Most parents worry that a shooting could happen at their children’s school. But a Trace analysis, in partnership with USA TODAY, found that domestic violence shootings are far more common.
‘He Has a Battle Rifle’: Police Feared Uvalde Gunman’s AR-15: Interviews obtained by The Texas Tribune show initial responders to the Robb Elementary School shooting said the gunman’s rifle drove their decision to wait for over an hour for a SWAT team.
What to Know This Week
The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to review the 5th Circuit ruling that struck down a ban on gun possession by people subject to domestic violence restraining orders, requesting that justices consider the case on a “highly expedited schedule” before the summer recess. [The Hill]
Chicago Police are racing to get guns off the street, but their efforts focus on possession, not use — and disproportionately target Black people. The tactic hasn’t led to a substantial reduction in shootings, and at the same time, more shootings are going unsolved. [The Marshall Project]
A Denver high school student, who was later found dead, shot two school staff members charged with patting him down as part of a safety plan, police said. It was the latest in a string of gun violence incidents at the school. [BuzzFeed News]
The parents of the Oxford High School gunman will stand trial for the mass shooting carried out by their son, per an unprecedented ruling from the Michigan Court of Appeals. They face counts of involuntary manslaughter related to their purchase of the gun used in the shooting, failing to secure that gun, and not removing their son from school on the day of the attack. [USA TODAY]
In the first six months after District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court’s last major gun decision before Bruen, no legal claim on Second Amendment grounds succeeded in court. Bruen has proved far more disruptive. [Duke Law Journal/Jake Charles via Twitter]
Key parts of another California gun law were ruled unconstitutional this week: A federal judge said the state’s mandate that newly sold handguns include certain safety equipment and microstamping capability is inconsistent with the Second Amendment. [San Francisco Chronicle]
One of the guns used in the deadly kidnapping of four Americans in Mexico this month was purchased in the U.S. and knowingly provided to the Gulf Cartel, according to a federal criminal complaint. [The Monitor] Context: There is just one gun store in all of Mexico, and it’s behind fortified walls on a military base.
The Michigan Senate passed an 11-bill gun violence prevention package, including legislation mandating universal background checks as well as safe storage and red flag bills. The state GOP compared the gun reforms to the Holocaust, drawing criticism from members of its own party. [Michigan Advance/CNN]
Over the past year, Alex Jones has transferred millions of dollars in property, cash, and business contracts to family and friends — placing that money out of reach of creditors and leaving Sandy Hook families unsure if they’ll ever get the full court-ordered damages Jones owes them. [The New York Times]
A Texas police regulator blamed two Austin homicides on the policies of reformist District Attorney José Garza. But the case around the alleged killer is complicated, and statewide policies are directly linked. [The Intercept]
Devante Davis, 27, was a classic Leo — he was “kind, funny, and fun” and “brought a light everywhere he went,” a friend told the Bay Area Reporter. Davis, also known as “Tay,” was shot and killed earlier this month in Oakland, California, the second gay Black man killed in the area in nine days. He went out of his way to help others, loved ones told a local TV station, and dreamed of becoming a father. Davis was a “joyful spirit,” another friend said. “When he met someone, he made that person feel loved.”
Is This Just a Drill?: “For as long as she could remember — for as long as she’d been in school — Brooke had trained for this. Yet in the heat of the moment, that training hadn’t prevented things from devolving into chaos.” [Madison Magazine]