Domestic violence gun restriction, Milwaukee mayor signs resolution

Domestic Violence Gun Restriction – Milwaukee Mayor Signs Resolution

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson signed a non-binding resolution Wednesday that hopes to reduce the number of domestic violence-related shootings.  An abuser’s access to guns can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of victims and survivors. Lawmakers said the effort to prohibit people convicted of domestic violence-related disorderly conduct from having firearms can save lives and keep communities safe.”I think we’re in a continued cycle of escalation around homicides in the city of Milwaukee related to domestic violence,” said Carmen Pitre, Sojourner Family Peace Center president. “A majority of those are committed with firearms.”

In 2022, the Milwaukee County Domestic Violence High Risk Team reported a nearly 30% increase in cases from the previous year. About 19% of those cases involved a shooting or use of a gun, and about 12% involved a threat to kill using a gun.  That’s why there’s a push to keep guns out of the hands of convicted abusers. The city, along with other local and state leaders, proposed barring every person convicted of domestic abuse from legal access to a gun. Johnson said it’s already a federal law, but not a Wisconsin state law.

Statement from State Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison):

“Thank you to the City of Milwaukee for making this bill a priority and standing with survivors of domestic violence. Our common sense bill will close this loophole in state law, keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals and protecting the lives of victims and law enforcement officers.”

NEW! Survivor Resources from the Institute on Strangulation Prevention

Click Here to connect!

At the Institute, we are dedicated to educating professionals as well as those who have experienced strangulation assaults. Survivors of strangulation assaults experience the ultimate robbery of hope. We know just one strangulation occurrence at the hands of an intimate partners means the victim is 750% more likely to die at the hands of their abuser. At the Institute, we believe Survivors can only make the best decisions for themselves and their families when they have all the information and fully understand the lethality of their situation.    


We have curated a variety of information and resources aimed to help educate Survivors on the severity of strangulation as well as resources aimed to help Survivors create pathways to safety, health, healing and autonomy. 
The Institute would like to thank our Advocacy Advisory Committee, co-chaired by Michelle Morgan and Joyce Bilyeu, for their tireless effort on this project as well as Alliance for Hope International’s Director of Culture and Creative Services, Yesenia Aceves, for her beautiful work in designing and creating our new Survivor Resources web page. 


Please take a moment to visit the new Survivor Page on the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention’s websiYoYou will be welcomed to the page by Alliance for Hope’s CEO, Gael Strack, and invited to browse a variety of helpful resources.  

Six Milwaukee County women were killed in a two-week period and all were victims of domestic violence

Six Milwaukee County women were killed in a two-week period and all were victims of domestic violence


Ashley Luthern

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Six women were killed in domestic violence situations over the past two weeks in Milwaukee County. Three of them were, from left, Ninoshka Maestre Lozada, Alwiya Mohamed and Ladda Donsanouphith.

In two weeks, six women lost their lives to domestic violence in Milwaukee County.

They were mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.

All were women of color. All died by gunfire.

Cynthia Walker, 66, was killed on her front porch July 8. Prosecutors say her estranged boyfriend pulled the trigger.

O’keyin Riles, 42, and her daughter, La’Dasia Porter, 19, were shot and killed July 14 inside a home near West Ring and North 6th streets. Family members believe La’Dasia was trying to protect her mother during a domestic violence situation. Police say a suspect recently was arrested in Arizona.

Ninoshka Maestre Lozada, 24, was killed in West Allis July 18. Police have arrested a suspect and said they had been in a domestic relationship. Lozada was a mother of four.

Alwiya Mohamed, 20, was killed Tuesday by her husband, who then took his own life at their Milwaukee home. The couple had a 1-year-old son.

Ladda Donsanouphith, 49, was fatally shot Wednesday on the city’s south side in a domestic violence situation. She was a mother to three sons. The suspect later took his life.

And over the weekend, another woman was shot in Milwaukee in a domestic violence incident. Police say the 32-year-old victim has life-threatening injuries.

Relatives and friends have posted tributes to those who lost their lives. Among them was Charnell Riles, sister of O’keyin Riles, who has organized an online donation page for funeral expenses.

The death of her sister and niece came “totally out of left field,” she said in an interview. “No one knew what was going on. There’s a lot we don’t know about the investigation. A wound is still open.”

“They were loved by a lot of people in Milwaukee and family in Mississippi and Louisiana,” Riles added. “There’s been so many people reaching out and donating and sending their condolences and it makes my heart warm to know she made an impact.”

La'Dasia Porter and O'keyin Riles

As their families and communities continue to grieve, those who work with domestic violence survivors say the recent tragedies reflect the ongoing need to reach people with culturally-specific services.

“We’re living through really, really hard times,” said Tammie Xiong, executive director for the Hmong American Women’s Association.

Donsanouphith’s death occurred near West National Avenue and South 35th Street, an area with several Laotian businesses.

“We’re really familiar with that area and so when we heard about this, it was completely devastating,” Xiong said.

‘We understand our communities:’ Culturally-specific options for domestic abuse survivors

The death of Mohamed, a Somali refugee who came to Milwaukee at a young age, has been a “wake-up call” for the local Muslim community, said Janan Najeeb, president of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition.

“Based on some conversation with some of the family members, it seemed like he had some jealousy issues,” she said. “But nobody ever thought it would escalate to something like this.”

The coalition has been running Our Peaceful Home, which serves Muslim families experiencing domestic violence, for three years but had struggled to get widespread buy-in with faith leaders and families preferring to keep things private, she said.

That changed last week.

At Mohamed’s funeral, Najeeb and other advocates distributed brochures in Somali and English. This week, community faith leaders will dedicate time in their sermons to the issue of domestic violence.

The efforts show the power of having culturally-specific resources so people do not hit barriers, language or otherwise.

“Each agency has a deep understanding of the community because they come from that particular community and understand the nuances and the specific practices,” Najeeb said.

The Hmong American Women’s Association and Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition are among a half-dozen agencies in the “We Are Here” campaign, designed to bring attention to those resources.

“We understand our communities because we work and live in them,” Xiong said. “All of our services are a direct reflection of what the community needs and wants.

Vaun Mayes, an activist who founded ComForce MKE, said the recent spate of violence shows even more resources are needed.

ComForce members are trained in de-escalation and have intervened in many domestic violence situations, helping people find shelter and other resources. Members also respond to homicides scenes.

It’s critical to have alternatives to the criminal justice system and larger domestic violence agencies because the current system “doesn’t work for everybody,” Mayes said.

He called on state leaders to do more to create community-based interventions in the wake of the recent deaths.

“It just highlights the fact that a lot of people have to suffer domestic violence in silence and without the proper support,” he said.

Supporting the victim’s families

Several victims’ families have set up GoFundMe accounts to help with funeral costs and other expenses. Click on the following links to donate:

Where to find help

  • Our Peaceful Home, which serves Muslim families and is a program of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, operates a crisis line at (414) 727-1090.
  • The Hmong American Women’s Association, which serves the Hmong and southeast Asian community, has advocates available at (414) 930-9352 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • The Asha Project, which serves African American women in Milwaukee, provides a crisis line from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (414) 252-0075.
  • The UMOS Latina Resource Center in Milwaukee offers bilingual, bicultural, domestic violence, sexual assault and anti-human trafficking supportive services and operates a 24-hour hotline at (414) 389-6510.
  • The Sojourner Family Peace Center in Milwaukee operates a 24-hour confidential hotline at (414) 933-2722.
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 800-799-7233.

Contact Ashley Luthern at Follow her on Twitter at @aluthern.