CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Less than a week ago Jennifer Smith attended a march for victims of domestic violence. Now a similar march is being planned in her memory, as police prepare to launch a new program to combat domestic violence
Sexual assault survivor Wendy Allen says she's in shock that a week ago she was at a walk against domestic violence with Jennifer Smith and now Smith is a victim of it.
"It's so tragic and it’s so shocking the time frame to me," said Allen. "It absolutely breaks my heart, it's devastating news."
Smith called police at 1 a.m. alerting them her boyfriend was lurking in the woods behind her home.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say officers conducted a thorough search, didn't find him and so they left.
"As human beings it's hard, it's a hard situation,” said Captain Pete Davis, who works with domestic violence every day.
CMPD is starting a new program on Thursday. When officers respond to domestic violence calls, they'll be trained to ask the victim various questions and then assess if they need immediate action taken for their safety.
"From there they will encourage the victims to call a hotline and receive counseling at that particular
time," said Capt. Davis.
Captain Davis says you can't force a victim to leave their home so there's only so much police can do.
"We do everything in our power to prevent incidents like these from occurring and if we could have done anything, if we could have looked into the future to prevent this we would have," said Captain Davis.
Mike Sexton with the Women's Commission says they want all victims and their loved ones to be alert. Abusers almost always come back so take all safety precautions.
"In this particular case whether it was possible or not if (we) could have just gotten her to a shelter or convinced her and her boyfriend and baby to go to a hotel until they found this guy," said Sexton.
The Domestic Violence Advocacy Council is holding a march for Smith and Luc Gonzalez on the Square at Trade and Tryon Thursday afternoon from12:15 until 1 in the afternoon.