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Shooting that took the lives of 3 first responders puts spotlight on domestic violence awareness

Domestic violence is an increasing issue in Minnesota
Domestic violence is an increasing issue in Minnesota 03:12

BURNSVILLE, Minn. — The state's leading agency on domestic violence says the tragedy at a home in Burnsville on Sunday is just the latest in a disturbing trend they've tracked for years.

It's not just more people dying, they say the number of assaults and the frequency of weapons being used has increased as well.

"Do you know anybody who has not ever once been impacted by domestic violence at all," Guadalupe Lopez said. That's one of the questions she wants everyone to reflect on in the aftermath of the tragedy in Burnsville.

The executive director of Violence Free Minnesota says one in three women and one in four men have experienced physical violence by a partner.

"In the street, at work, wherever you're at, think about that. How many people are surviving violence or have experienced it and how many people are also using violence," Lopez said.

Court documents allege the suspected shooter Shannon Gooden had a history of violence against his partners and was barred from owning firearms since 2008 due to an assault conviction, but he had "multiple different firearms." 

RELATED: Shannon Gooden shot at Burnsville first responders with "multiple weapons," search warrant shows

Also inside the home during the standoff were his partner and seven children.

"We see what happens when people fall through the cracks. Unnecessary domestic and sexual abuse, unnecessary death," Lopez said.

Since 2014, 261 Minnesotans have been killed due to domestic violence situations. Of those, 46 were bystanders or trying to help, including the three lives lost Sunday.

According to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, more officers are assaulted when responding to domestic calls than any other call.

Lopez says more people need to recognize just how common and dangerous domestic violence is.

"It has to be all of us together. It has to be our legislators. It has to be our school teachers," Lopez said. "It has to be our first responders. It has to be all of our youth being brought up. That we need prevention and we need to change to make a different Minnesota."

Violence Free Minnesota is pushing for more resources to help survivors of domestic violence, including the seven children who were inside that house on Sunday. The organization says it's important for the community to lift them up in the months and years to come so that what happened that day doesn't define the rest of their lives. 

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

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