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Domestic violence deaths are on the rise in Miami-Dade even as overall murders decline

Headshots of Vickie Simmons, Shandell Harris and Trukita Scott.
Miami Herald
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From left, Vickie Simmons, 25, Shandell Harris, 30, and Trukita Scott, 24. All have been in a relationship with Carl Monty Watts Jr.

It took just two days to ring up the first domestic violence fatalities of 2022, a murder-suicide. After a bitter argument at their home near Miami Lakes, Fernando Cintron, 33, shot and killed his wife, Ariij Al-Husani, a 40-year-old decorated U.S. customs officer. Then, he killed himself.

In the ensuing months, there have been more gut-wrenching examples: the father who fatally shot his two young children before turning the gun on himself in Miami Lakes, the Instagram model who fatally stabbed her boyfriend during a violent argument in their luxury Miami high-rise, the Little River mother who was embroiled in years of domestic turmoil before police say she strangled her own young children.

Then, there the case of of Carl Monty Watts, 45, an ex-con who fatally shot his wife, Shandell Harris, 30, in front of horrified children at a Jewish community center pool in Northeast Miami-Dade on April 3.

These were the latest examples of what authorities say has been a spike in domestic-related killings in Miami-Dade County over the past five years. Although Miami-Dade has bucked the national trends of sharp increases in homicides, domestic homicides have nevertheless increased, alarming victim advocates who point to the long grind of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty as contributing factors.

Read more from our news partners at the Miami Herald.