(KPLR) - In the past few weeks, Fox 2 has reported four domestic violence related shootings.
In most cases the violence happened when one of the partners attempted to end the relationship.
Fox 2's Melanie Moon looked into the shootings and found that in most cases it's about a violent abuser attempting to control the person they claim to love.
Two shootings between couples, just hours apart in the St. Louis County is not an anomaly; but a continuing trend of violence between intimate partners.
In fact, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by someone they have a relationship with. The database also shows 19 percent of domestic violence involves a weapon.
In February, a man walked into his former home in Shrewsbury where his estranged wife and 3 children were still living and shot and killed his wife before fatally shooting himself.
A month later in Glen Carbon a woman shot and killed her husband, then set her home on fire with her 6 children inside. She then drove her SUV into a lake with a 7th child, an infant inside the vehicle.
None of the children was seriously injured, but just like the February murder suicide the children were left orphaned.
In most instances of murder suicide, domestic violence experts say this isn't the outcome of a troubled relationship. But rather the result of a violent abuser seeking to possessively control the partner to prevent them from leaving.
Intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime in this country. But those numbers are likely much higher since most abuse is not reported until it is too late.
But the worst thing a victim can do is not seek help.
The experts say the most dangerous time in a relationship is the minute the abused partner tries to leave. In fact, in domestic violence cases more than 70 percent of injuries and murders happen after the victim leaves.
That's why a victim needs to have a plan of action when they leave an abusive relationship.