The former girlfriend of a man who tried to kill her in a suicidal rage over their breakup is speaking out for the first time since she was shot in an effort to help other potential victims of domestic violence.
Ramon Lalondriz-Castillo was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday for attempted murder in the shooting of Evimer Duclerc.
Prosecutors say he stalked and attacked her as she left her job at a drugstore on the Upper East Side in January 2010. He shot her twice. One bullet lodged on the side of her head. Then the gun jammed.
Lalondriz-Castillo had one bullet left. Despite the wounds she did suffer, Duclerc considers herself lucky.
"The third bullet was jammed. He was on top of me, he was at a close distance," Duclerc said.
Two years later, she can now identify some warning signs she had initially ignored that suggested Lalondriz-Castillo was dangerous.
Now she hopes her insight can help other victims of domestic violence.
"He was always jealous, jealous over everything, checking my phone, popping up in places to make sure I was where I said I was," she said.
Duclerc had been living with Lalondriz-Castillo for six months before he physically hurt her for the first time. They were in Miami to celebrate her birthday and they had a fight.
"He punched me. And he started apologizing when he saw that my eye had turned purple," said Duclerc. "The hotel called the police and he was arrested. I waited until we returned home to break up with him and I told him to get out of my apartment."
But Duclerc says Lalondriz-Castillo did not take the breakup well. He began to stalk her, watching her every move and calling her constantly.
"He was still apologizing saying that would never happen again," said Duclerc. "He begged me to give him another chance but I kept saying no because I knew I wouldn't go back to him."
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is ending the relationship. His office provides support and help to domestic violence victims and they can help formulate a so-called exit strategy.
“These are not instances where you can necessary help yourself get out of it safely,” said Vance. “You can turn to your family, your friends, our office. We are here to help.”
And the key to prevention, as this young woman learned, is to identify abuse as early as possible.
“If he’s willing to hit you or throw things at you,” said Duclerc. “He’s capable of anything because when you’re mad, you’re not thinking about what you are doing.”