This post was originally published on Sacramento Observer

By Genoa Barrow

Arizona prosecutors say Dandrae Martin beat, choked, stomped, and urinated on his girlfriend for an hour, in front of their two small children, in 2016 because she refused to let him prostitute her. In 2018, his brother Smiley Martin pled guilty to assaulting his own girlfriend, whom he encouraged to prostitute. In a prolonged attack, Smiley beat her with his fists and a belt until she was covered in blood.

The Martin brothers are suspects in a deadly shooting that occurred in downtown Sacramento this past April. When Mtula Payton was named as a third suspect and rival shooter in the incident that claimed six lives, law enforcement was already looking for the 27-year-old on multiple felony warrants, including domestic violence and gun charges.

According to the Sacramento Police Department, Payton’s warrant for felony domestic violence stemmed from an April 2 altercation in which a woman claimed he’d injured her.

Several deadly mass shootings, including the one in Sacramento, have recently made national news. Area advocates and stakeholders say that often left untold or underreported is a story behind the story. Before assailants commit heinous crimes and take innocent lives in public, they often display violent behaviors at home.

There is significant overlap in the factors that drive domestic violence and those behind community gun violence, such as trauma, mental health issues, and poverty and other socioeconomic inequality. Advocates and law enforcement officials say paying closer attention to abusers and limiting their access to guns could help prevent future firearm injury. Experts are also calling for a more comprehensive study of the intersection between domestic violence and other gun-related crimes.

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