Bushwick rallies after domestic violence shooting
by Benjamin Fang
Oct 12, 2018 | 1551 views | 0 0 comments | 108 108 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bushwick community is rallying around the family of Sade Sanchez, a 24-year-old woman killed by her ex-boyfriend in a domestic violence shooting on October 7.

According to NYPD, Sanchez was shot five times. She was walking home with her mother from the grocery store when she was killed.

Authorities arrested 26-year-old Gabriel Rivera of Ridgewood, who was charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

Last Tuesday night, dozens of community members gathered to support the victim’s family and friends, many of whom were sobbing from their loss. A memorial in front of Sanchez’s home included flowers, candles and balloons.

James Sanchez, Sade’s father, said his daughter was caring and loving to her two children and her entire family. He acknowledged the support the Bushwick community has expressed in recent days.

“My family appreciates it very much,” he said. “I’m sure my daughter in heaven right now is smiling on all of us because we’re showing so much support for her.”

Sanchez, fighting back tears, said he hopes the rally helps others going through a similar domestic violence situation.

“If you see some type of sign of something wrong, say something about it,” he said. “Acknowledge that you want to help, and help that person not have to go through what my daughter went through.”

Mother Cynthia Santos said her family made multiple attempts to reach law enforcement about the domestic violence, including filing “numerous police protection reports.” She said nothing happened.

“The system failed my daughter, she would've been alive,” Santos said. “Then my daughter died in my hands, I couldn’t save her.”

She said Rivera’s actions destroyed her family, and that Sade’s siblings were “not the same anymore.” Santos advised those in abusive relationships to get out.

“Don’t let these men abuse you,” she said. “You’ve got to talk to your family, there’s always help.”

Emotions ran high even for local elected officials who spoke. Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, who organized the rally, said Sanchez lost her life despite everything she tried to do. She noted that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

According to a report last year from the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, orders of protection have reached a five-year high.

Nationwide, one in three women have been victims of some form of domestic violence in their lifetimes, according to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Davila, who co-founded the North Brooklyn Coalition Against Family Violence in 1998, said she’s a victim of domestic violence herself.

“I know what it feels to be a victim, I know how hard it is to get out,” she said. “That is the most sensitive time, when you’re getting out.”

“I was lucky enough to escape many years ago, I was fortunate,” Davila added. “But it wasn’t easy, especially when you have children.”

The assemblywoman wanted to send a message that domestic violence can happen to anyone in the community. She said an active investigation in still ongoing, and pledges to correct any flaw in the reporting system to make sure a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again.

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez urged local law enforcement to take action at least 24 hours after a complaint like this is filed.

“We need to be proactive because if there is a flaw in the system, it could cost lives,” she said.

The congresswoman added that nearly half of all women who are murdered are killed by their romantic partners, which she called a crisis.

“The best we can do is make sure we have a system in place that will empower and protect women and victims of domestic violence,” Velazquez said.

Supporters of the family held up a framed picture of Sade Sanchez throughout the rally, which ended with a prayer.

“I loved my daughter,” Santos said. “She was so precious.”
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