Could more have been done to help nurse who was slain day after filing protective order?

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UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. -- A University Place nurse filed a protective order against her boyfriend one day before she was killed, allegedly by that same ex-boyfriend.

Police say Marcos Perea walked into a nursing home Saturday and gunned down Jessica Ortega at work.

After a 25-minute chase, police shot and killed the suspect.

Ortega told detectives her boyfriend threatened to kill her with a gun. Despite that police report and a temporary protective order, it wasn’t enough to stop her boyfriend. Now some are asking if more could have been done to save Ortega.

Ortega called 911 last Wednesday, scared for her life. Police say Ortega told Perea she was leaving him and that`s when detectives say he put a gun to Ortega’s face saying it was her time to die. The ordeal lasted 45 minutes until he took off.

Karen White, a domestic violence advocate with YWCA Pierce County, says more should have been done to help Ortega.

“This man held a gun to this woman`s head. I am not sure why he wasn`t arrested. She requested that relief in her protection order. I am not sure why the seizure of that firearm didn`t occur,” White said.

In the temporary protection order granted by the Pierce County Superior Court, the box that requires Perea to surrender his firearm is not checked.

The commissioner who granted the order claims she`s not allowed to speak about the case according to her office, so we couldn`t get an explanation on why she didn`t order that Perea surrender his guns.

But the Pierce County Sheriff's Department says deputies were looking for Perea to arrest him for holding a gun to Ortega’s head.

“They tried to locate him at several different areas so they were unable to locate him,” Pierce County sheriff’s spokesperson Lynelle Anderson said.

Perea was wearing an ankle bracelet due to a DUI arrest, but deputies say they could not easily get Perea’s location from the bracelet because the information is tracked by a private company.

Deputies say Perea stayed in hiding until Saturday morning when he gunned down Ortega at work.  He had yet to be served the protective order.

“When people have the intent for something like this, there is nothing you can do,” Anderson said.

Statistics show women are at the highest risk for violence when they try to leave their abuser. Domestic violence experts recommend women reach out to domestic violence centers for advice and help before filing a protection order.

“The thing with protection orders is they are very useful tool for some people. For other people, they can really escalate violence,” White said.

Experts say it is important to tell family, friends and coworkers if you are in an abusive relationship. They also say the stigma needs to be removed so a victim feels comfortable sharing the history of violence so they can get help.

The YWCA crisis hotline is (253) 383-2593.

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