The brother of a woman who was shot and killed in Southington this past Sunday is speaking out.
Police say the gunman is her ex-boyfriend-who then killed himself in Naugatuck.
The victim’s brother opened up to Channel 3 because the family doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else.
Michelle Barrett’s family says she was a loving and giving person, and say she almost got away from a long-term abusive relationship.
“A jokester, hard worker, and loving mother,” said Michael Barrett.
Michelle Barrett was also a confidant to younger brother, Michael.
“She was my rock. Somebody that I could talk to,” said Michael.
Michael says the plan was in place for Michelle to move down to South Carolina in July after her 16-year-old son Christian finished the school year.
The 41-year-old had finally put an end to a 14-year on again off again relationship with Robert Desantis, just two months earlier.
“To finally live a life of being free and away from abuse, unfortunately, it was too late by the time she was able to get away,” said Michael.
Last Sunday, Southington Police were called to do a welfare check on Michelle around 6 a.m.
Just a half an hour earlier, Naugatuck Police say Desantis shot himself in the police parking lot.
When Southington Police got to Manor Road, officers found Michelle’s body in the backyard.
Police say Desantis shot and killed Michelle hours earlier around 1 a.m.
“We feel strongly that other victims of domestic violence shouldn’t be in a situation where they’re afraid to seek help or be afraid to tell others what’s going on,” said Michael.
Channel 3 learned in Connecticut, nearly 40,000 people seek domestic violence services each year.
On average, there are 12 homicides that result out of domestic violence.
So far in 2018, there have been 8 homicides. Three of them were murder-suicides.
Karen Jarmoc, CEO of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, says victims can find help 24/7 and work with an advocate to develop a safety plan.
“For individuals who are in a relationship where they don’t feel safe, they feel threatened or harassed, or there’s a lot of jealousy, control know that these are concerning behaviors and that they can reach out and speak with an advocate confidentially and get help,” said Jarmoc.
The family now hopes Michelle’s memory will serve to protect other victims of domestic violence.
“She was just a wonderful human being and she was just such a great person. We all mourn her loss,” said Michael.
The family has set a Michelle Barrett Donation Fund as well as a GoFundMe, which can be found here.
To find help for domestic violence, click here.
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