TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) - Patricia Parra Perez remembers the night of Dec. 10, 2004, in vivid detail.

She’s told the story countless times in the 13 years since to help raise awareness about domestic violence.

Here's how she recalls it:

“I looked right across at my son’s eyes like he had seen a ghost, but I knew that voice. It was my ex-husband,” said Parra Perez, seated at a picnic bench on a sunny afternoon. “And I thought ‘oh my Lord, Jesus. This is not happening.'

“I remember that it was just seconds, if that, that he shot the first shot that went through my hand. And I figured, if I at least could take the gun away from him, but I wasn’t successful because the second shot went into my head.

"And when the second shot went into my head, I couldn’t hear but I could only see. My son panicked and ran to the front door, so his father caught up with him and shot him. My daughter is apparently screaming, but I can’t hear so I figured, 'if I can’t hear, nobody else can hear.' She ran up the sidewalk and I see him running after her, and she makes it maybe two townhouses up and he shoots her. And he backs up and puts the gun in his mouth and shoots himself.

Watch: Patricia Parra Perez tells her story

“It wasn’t a family member that told me that my kids did not make it. I would have given my life a billion times over my kids’ lives,Parra Perez added, wiping a tear from her cheek. “I believe that God really saved my life for this purpose because I can’t sit here and tell you all the things that I did or didn’t do that teach me to be that educator for somebody else.”


In December 2017, Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren announced a plan to take guns away from domestic abusers.

“A woman is killed in America every day in an act of domestic violence, more than half of those crimes are committed using a gun and more than half the time the murderer has a history of involvement in the criminal justice system. So this was a way, frankly, to potentially save lives,” Warren said. “This is about the aggressive enforcement of existing laws to take guns and keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers who have forfeited the right to own them.”

Warren’s policy doesn’t propose any new laws. However, it focuses on stricter enforcement of laws already in place.

“This is about the aggressive enforcement of existing laws to take guns and keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers who have forfeited the right to own them,” he said. “For a variety of reasons, there hasn’t been consistent enforcement, and that’s one of the things we’re focused on.

"So, we teamed up with our law enforcement partners here to figure out how we can actually enforce the laws aggressively, and consistently to try to disarm people who shouldn’t be having guns in their possession.”

Extended interview: State attorney speaks on taking guns away from domestic abusers

“There are a lot of moving parts, which is the difficult part about it,” Warren said. “But what it starts with is our first responders, law enforcement.

"When they respond to a domestic violence incident, getting information about the access and possession to a firearm by people involved, by the domestic abuser; transferring that information over to the State Attorney’s office for a background check as well, for a check on domestic violence-related injunctions – using that information as leverage within the system to force the relinquishment of a gun as part of the normal judicial process, and then making sure that we’re dealing with the safe storage of the firearm.”

Watch: Click or tap here to watch Warren's December news conference

Warren added, “The benefits include supporting the victims who suffer from abuse, and reducing the frequency and severity of incidents and acts of domestic violence against them and, potentially, saving lives. But we’re also encouraging victims to come forward, we’re going to help victims overcome what can be a paralyzing fear of living with an armed, abusive partner; and those are just the direct benefits.

"The indirect benefits, we’re talking about simplifying the prosecution of domestic abusers, especially in cases where the victims might be reluctant to testify," Warren said. "We’re going to help take illegal guns off the street, guns that can be used to commit other crimes.

"This helps protect law enforcement because it gives them notice of when they’re responding to a domestic violence incident and there might be an armed person there.”


By law, domestic violence offenders who have a prior felony or misdemeanor domestic violence convictions are prohibited from owning firearms. While his policy largely applies to people with prior convictions, Warren says he could possibly pursue gun forfeiture for offenders who have not be convicted as well, which has sparked the concern of gun rights activists.

"For State Attorney Warren to illegally impose restrictions prohibited by statute, and to require forfeiture of legally owned and constitutionally protected property from a person who has not been convicted of a crime, is most unwise,” former National Rifle Association President told 10News is an emailed statement. "The Constitution guarantees the right to keep and bear arms for lawful purposes. Under our system of justice, you are innocent until proven guilty. Florida statutes prohibit the regulation of firearms by any government agency or entity and reserves it solely for the Legislature.”

“He’s going to ask that judges deny people, who have been accused of a crime but not convicted of a crime, their fundamental right to keep and bear arms and there’s just no constitutional basis for doing so,” said Eric Friday, who works as a general legal counsel for the organization Florida Carry. “No other right would it ever be suggested, that any other right, could be denied merely on the basis of an accusation rather than a conviction.

"We don’t take away people’s First Amendment rights or right to vote because they are accused of a crime. We take them away because they’re convicted of a crime.”

Watch: Legal counsel for Florida Carry speaks on enforcement of gun control

“The existing laws say certain people aren’t allowed to possess firearms. We have no objection to any State Attorney enforcing the law, that’s their job, we hope they do their job,” Friday added. “If his goal is to get guns out of the hands of people who have been convicted of a crime who are no longer legally allowed to possess guns, please do.

"What we have {an} objection to is the idea that he can take away somebody’s fundamental right because they are accused of a crime that they have not been convicted of and not had their day in court.”


There were 156 mass shootings in the United States between 2009 and 2016, according to the organization Everytown for Gun Safety. The organization -- which prides itself for gun violence prevention -- found that 54 percent of mass shootings in the U.S. in the eight-year span involved domestic or family violence. Some 848 people were killed.

The issue is a red flag for some people when it comes to identifying potential mass shooters.

"There are many people who do engage in domestic violence, they never go on to become mass killers,” said former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole. “But because it's prominent in a number of cases we've seen over time it really does need to be considered as one of the warning behaviors."

In November 2017, a gunman with a history of domestic abuse opened fire in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people.

"Sutherland Springs was not a failure of gun control or a failure of gun rights. Sutherland Springs was a failure of the government, the United States Air Force, to do its job and to follow the law,” Friday said. "If the United States Air Force had done its job and reported that shooter to the national criminal check system, he would not have been able to legally obtain that firearm."

“I always like to remind people: Sutherland Springs is a prime example of how good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns,” Friday added. “That shooter did not stop until another person, a good person, with an AR-15 made him stop.”


Parra Perez has remarried and started over with her new family.

She said she feels blessed to be a mother again, and that she was spared so she can tell her story.

Parra Perez continues to raise awareness about the issue of domestic violence.

She supports Warren’s efforts to take guns out of the hands of abusers.

“I think that our state attorney is doing a wonderful job with bringing awareness across the board with everyone involved,” she said. “What he is doing is something that’s going to help our entire community. The awareness that he is bringing to our community, our law enforcement, our court system, everybody involved.

"It is something that we all need to be aware.”

However, Warren also knows gun rights and constitutional rights activists will also be aware of how he enforces his new policy.

“Right now, we’re waiting to see how Mr. Warren plans to implement his new policy,” Friday said. “If he implements it in a way that is consistent with Florida law and the U.S. Constitution and Florida constitution we have no issues.”

Watch: Parra Perez speaks on domestic abuse

Phil Buck is a reporter with 10News WTSP. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. You can also email him at pbuck@wtsp.com.