Tragic Death in Richmond Calls Attention to Domestic Violence

Press Release, 09/22/2011

On September 20, 2011, Rafael Zarate allegedly killed his ex-girlfriend, Jensy Romero, in an act of domestic violence. It is Contra Costa County’s fifth domestic violence related death in 2011.

Romero’s boss found her dead in the restroom of Angie’s Bakery and Restaurant in Richmond where she worked. Richmond police report that Zarate, their main suspect in the killing, had been stalking her for at least a month since their recent breakup. Zarate was arrested early on September 22 following a 16-hour stand-off with the San Leandro Police and Richmond SWAT team during which he was shot and wounded.

Thanks to the close partnership of Contra Costa law enforcement agencies like the Richmond Police Department and social service organizations including STAND! For Families Free of Violence, the number of domestic violence related deaths in the county has decreased substantially from the all-time high of 14 in 2010.

Domestic violence occurs three times more often in couples experiencing financial strain. STAND! CEO Gloria Sandoval notes, “While we are relieved that the number of domestic violence related homicides has decreased, we are seeing demands for our services increase at an alarming rate.” Since the start of the economic downturn in 2008, STAND! has seen the number of calls to its 24 hour Help Line increase by 45%. Over the last year, requests for shelter services have increased 13% and requests for social advocacy services have increased 37%.

As Contra Costa families continue to struggle and government funding for safety net organizations continues to decline, STAND! expects to see ongoing increases in domestic violence incidents. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and STAND! is asking individuals and communities to get involved to help ensure that victims of domestic violence like Jensy Romero have access to the resources they need.


About STAND! For Families Free of Violence
STAND! For Families Free of Violence is committed to promoting safe and strong families. Our
approach to eliminating family violence is well-rounded and community-wide. In addition to
providing a complete spectrum of prevention, intervention, and treatment programs, we also
enlist the efforts of local residents, partners, and institutions, all striving with us to stop domestic
violence and child abuse.

Domestic violence and child abuse often co-occur in families. As the only comprehensive family
violence reduction agency in Contra Costa County, STAND! assists more than 10,000 clients
annually by providing comprehensive services to end the cycle of violence and child abuse