Raleigh, N.C. — For the second time in six weeks, people are expected to gather at the Wake County Courthouse in downtown Raleigh at noon Wednesday for a silent march against domestic violence.
Organized by the Wake County Domestic Violence Task Force, the march is in response to five recent homicides in Wake County and is designed to raise community awareness about domestic violence and how victims get help.
Wednesday's march comes two days after Kathleen Bertrand, 41, was shot and killed by her ex-husband, 42-year-old Christopher John Bertrand, in Raleigh's Cameron Village shopping center.
Two weeks ago, police say Agata Flipska Vellotti, 43, was killed by her estranged husband, Mario Vellotti, outside a north Raleigh apartment complex after returning home from walking their 6-year-old son to school.
According to Interact of Wake County, a nonprofit that promotes domestic violence awareness and services for victims, Bertrand's death marks the fifth domestic-violence homicide in Wake County since May.
At a silent march organized by the task force on July 25, about 50 people showed up.
"It is absolutely critical for us to create awareness about the issue of domestic violence," Leigh Duque, executive director of InterAct of Wake County, said in July. "This is everybody's business. This isn't someone else's problem."
According to the North Carolina Council for Woman, North Carolina ranks fourth in the nation in homicides committed by men against women.
So far this year, the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence says there have been 45 domestic-violence homicides this year, including Kathleen Bertrand.
Last year, there were 106 in the state – four in Wake County – according to the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.