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As Domestic Violence Is On The Rise In St. Paul, A New Program Is Offering Free Consultations

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- A man is in jail in St. Paul after police say he shot and killed his wife before showing up at the police station to turn himself in.

The 46-year-old man called 911 around 3 a.m. Tuesday from the police headquarters parking lot. When officers spoke with him, another team went to the home on Winnipeg Avenue, where they found his wife, also in her 40s, dead inside.

"I've been with the department seven years and I've never seen that before, something went horribly wrong for whatever reason he knew he did something terribly wrong," said Steve Linders, a spokesperson for the police department. "At least he's in custody and nobody else can be hurt."

Names have not been released. St. Paul investigators say they've had domestic abuse calls to this house in the past.

Domestic violence calls in St. Paul are up 13.5% this year. Police say eight of the city's 30 homicides are related to domestic violence.

Scenes of domestic violence are becoming all too familiar in the Twin Cities. On Monday, Bloomington police said a woman's body was dragged to a dumpster in what appears to be an act of domestic violence.

Prevent Violence Minnesota says there have been at least 21 deaths by intimate partners this year. Mary Beth Becker-Lauth, of Women's Advocates Shelter, says there's yet more troubling data.

"We are seeing fewer calls to domestic abuse support hotlines but more calls for intervention during a violent domestic," she said.

Becker-Lauth says the pandemic has isolated victims from resources and given them less privacy to seek help. So, starting next week, Women's Advocates Shelter is starting a new program embedding advocates into the Rondo Library every Tuesday for free private consultations.

The pop-up program at the library is for current victims, past survivors and for anybody who's worried about anybody. The program is available every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"When it comes to domestic violence, there is no place where our noses don't belong," Becker-Lauth said. "We have to be connecting with people who need it, because when we don't connect with people who need it, they things slip through the cracks and that's when things get really dangerous."

More Resources

There are also ways to get help through video chat or by calling the Women's Advocates Crisis Hotline at 651-227-8284.

For anonymous, confidential help, people can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224.

Local Resources

Alexandra House Services -- Anoka County

Cornerstone -- Bloomington

Domestic Abuse Intervention Project -- Ramsey County

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