Domestic violence advocates speak out about death of Spanaway woman

PIERCE COUNTY - Domestic violence advocates around the Puget Sound say they’re concerned about the death of a Spanaway woman, at the hands of her estranged boyfriend.

“Unfortunately it is something that is way too common still in the world we live in,” says Karin White, the deputy director of the YWCA Pierce County. “One in 3 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime.”

Detectives say 27-year-old Jessica Ortega was beginning her nursing shift at University Place Care Center Saturday morning, when 41-year-old Marcos Perea walked in and shot her several times.

She had filed for a temporary protection order from Perea just hours before the shooting. In the paperwork filed with Pierce County on Friday, Ortega wrote about a recent incident with Perea. “He had a gun pointed at my head telling me it was my time to die.”

White says a protection order can be a useful tool for many people trying to escape a violent relationship, but they aren’t always enough.

“We have lots of policies and laws that help keep people safe, that help remove firearms from people we know to be dangerous, but those policies don't always get implemented.”

She says Ortega’s death raises a lot of questions.

“This man held a gun to this woman's head, I'm not sure why he wasn't arrested. She requested relief in her protection order, I'm not sure why the seizure of that firearm didn't occur.”

She wants domestic violence victims to know that there are resources for them and local advocates who can help with safety planning. Pierce County has a 24 hour crisis line, 253-383-2593. There is also a National Domestic Violence hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE.