CLINTON, Md. — Less than a day into the new year, Prince George's County was already grappling with a deadly scene that has placed a spotlight on the issue of domestic violence.
Two people were killed and two others were hurt in what police are calling a "domestic-related incident" in the early morning hours of January 1st.
Prince George's County Police say the two deceased victims "were in a relationship."
Two other people, one "juvenile" and one adult, were hurt by gunfire and taken to the hospital with what authorities describe as "non-life-threatening" injuries.
Investigators are still working to determine exactly what happened on Lazy Acres Road in Clinton that morning. They're examining the possibility that this is a "self-defense or defense of others case."
When the details do all come out, it appears likely this killing may be added to the grim tally the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence keeps.
"We lost 58 people...as a result of domestic violence...in 2021," said Jennifer Pollitt Hill, the executive director of the organization.
According to Pollitt Hill, 2021 is the most recent year with complete data available.
But the scope of the domestic abuse problem is much broader.
"About one in four folks experience some sort of impact as a result of intimate partner violence...in their lifetime," she said.
That figure includes physical violence, but also other types of abuse like emotional and psychological harm.
However, Pollitt Hill says there is help for those looking to leave an abusive relationship.
Counselors are available to provide advice and guidance 24/7 at the National Domestic Violence Hotline. You can call the hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or access their online chat line here.
There are local resources available too.
At the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence's website, you can find a list of agencies providing assistance in every Maryland county.
In Prince George's, Jackie Rhone manages the county's Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Division.
She claims anyone in Prince George's County experiencing domestic abuse can call 211 to be routed to the most appropriate resources in the county. According to Rhone, 211 can be reached 24/7.
"There are advocates there that can walk you through...safety planning and provide other resources depending on a person's situation," said Rhone.
You can also reach the Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Division directly during business hours at 301-265-8423.
The Prince George's County Family Justice Center also provides assistance to survivors of domestic abuse and can be reached at (301) 780-8008.
If you are in immediate danger, though, the best thing to do is call 911 as soon as possible.