LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — An investigation is underway after a man shot his girlfriend Tuesday morning during a domestic dispute, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
The incident happened at a home on Seventh Avenue North near Dixie Highway in Lake Worth Beach.
According to authorities, the shooting happened about 3 a.m. Deputies said the man then barricaded himself inside the home and shot himself.
Deputies said the man died, but his girlfriend remains in critical condition.
A heavy law enforcement presence could be seen for several hours outside the home. The SWAT team and bomb squad was also called.
Several nearby residents said they heard screaming coming from the home.
"The scream was awful," Shelli Miller, who lives across from the home, told WPTV. "I will never forget that scream."
Miller said she called 911.
"And then to not hear her after that, I thought she was dead," Miller said.
Miller said she saw the man drag his girlfriend out of the house, then run back inside and shut the door.
"My baby is inside sleeping, you know, so it's scary," she said.
It's a scenario that has angered area domestic violence advocates. Just within the past two weeks, pastor Dr. J.R. Thicklin, Destiny by Choice Inc. CEO and Mental Health coach, has been a part of six domestic dispute and domestic violence seminars and forums. He's worried about the "holiday hush."
"We're talking about the holidays, which brings about its own sense of stress (and) expectations," Thicken said. "Whether or not I'll meet those expectations. It could be bills. It could be a number of things there. So it tends to exacerbate a situation that may already be strenuous in the first place."
Data from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence shows there are about 2.7 times more domestic incidents reported on holidays like New Year's Day.
"That's why we often times say to neighbors and friends, if you hear something, say something," Thicklin said. "You know, do something about it, because often times the victim is in a position where they will not."
A sheriff's spokeswoman told WPTV deputies still don't know what led to the dispute. Deputies also don't know if they were ever called to the home in the past
The names of those involved have not yet been released.
To learn more about domestic dispute and violence prevention, watch this Nov. 18 Urban League forum below.