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AMES, Iowa — Days after the deadly shooting outside of an Ames church that killed Iowa State students Eden Montang, 22, and Vivian Flores, 21, some are wondering what can be done to prevent any similar tragedies from happening in Iowa.
The Story County Sheriff’s Office believes the gunman, who died by suicide after the incident, was once in a relationship with Montang and specifically targeted her. He had been arrested for harassing Montang at work days before the shooting.
Tiffany Allison leads the Soaring Hearts Foundation, which advocates for the safety and protection of domestic violence victims in Iowa. A survivor of domestic violence herself, Allison said Montang’s death echoes the fears many victims have with their abusers.
“The only time that I was safe and the only time they ever felt safe is when the perpetrator was incarcerated,” Allison said.
She hopes the shooting inspires people to push for changes to Iowa laws, since she believes Montang did the best she could to protect herself.
“It sounds like she has done what we would recommend that she do; she obtained a no-contact order and I’m assuming she also had a safety plan,” Allison said. “Lawmakers should start by talking to survivors first and foremost about what was helpful in their circumstances, what went wrong, and what could have changed their circumstances for the better.”