A manhunt is ongoing for the Philadelphia man accused in the shooting death of his girlfriend, 24-year-old Isis Williams, in front of the couple’s infant daughter last week.
Local authorities told ABC News that Williams had been found dead of a gunshot wound to the head at approximately 4 a.m. last Friday, just steps away from where the couple’s five-day-old baby lay, uninjured, in her crib.
The suspect is 33-year-old Tyrese Lynch, the victim’s boyfriend. On a GoFundMe page set up to assist the family with funeral costs, one of Williams’ family members reportedly referred to the relationship as “abusive,” and neighbors told local news that they had overheard Lynch "calling [Williams] derogatory names," in the minutes leading up to the fatal shooting. Police officers who responded to the scene said that there had been signs of a domestic dispute, with furniture in the home overturned.
Williams’ aunt, Aspara Agyeman, told ABC News that her niece had been on the phone with her mother when the attack happened and that her mother had "heard the shots," as they rang out. Agyeman has been caring for the now week-old infant since Williams was murdered.
"Even though I may be the one that ends up raising her, she's gonna know that Isis is her mother and that she was loved," Agyeman told ABC News.
Intimate partner violence — particularly the type involving the fatal use of a firearm — has been linked to Black women in the U.S. at far higher rates than those of any other race. According to a 2009 study commissioned by the Department of Justice, Black women were found to be four times more likely than white women to be murdered by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Phoebe Kilgour, a press secretary at Everytown for Gun Safety, said that while domestic violence involving guns is tragically common — with as many as 50 women shot and killed by a current or former partner each month — the “mere presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely a women will be killed.”
Kilgour said that stronger gun policy on the national level, “like a criminal background check on every gun sale and closing the boyfriend loophole, which allows many abusive ex-boyfriends and convicted stalkers to access guns [can help to] protect women from this type of violence.”
“A growing number of states are taking these common-sense steps, and it's past time for Congress to do the same,” Kilgour said.
A vigil has been planned for Williams on Monday in Philadelphia’s Logan neighborhood. Police are asking anyone with information on Lynch’s whereabouts to contact detectives, cautioning that he could be considered armed and dangerous.