Restraining Order Not Served Due to Computer Glitch

There's anger and frustration in Lawrence, Massachusetts, after serious questions were raised over whether Tuesday's domestic assault that ended with a man dead and his girlfriend seriously injured could have been prevented.

"We became aware that the shooting victim was granted a restraining order one day prior to this incident, and the Lawrence Police Department received that restraining order minutes before the incident," said Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera.

Rivera says when a restraining order is granted, it is faxed to the police department.

But in an effort to streamline the process, that fax is converted into an email that goes directly to the officer tasked with serving the order.

On Monday, the server failed and the email wasn't generated until 23 hours later.

"I think people will be shocked to find out we're transmitting such an important document in such an imperfect way," Rivera said.

Authorities say Antonio Gonzalez shot his girlfriend, Yenny Santos, and killed himself.

In the restraining order affidavit, Santos wrote in Spanish, "...he started to threaten me saying that if I returned, he was going to hit me, and that he was going to kill me. I got scared because I know he is capable of that."

Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick argued that even without the glitch, the order can't prevent all violence and may not have been served immediately because there was important information left off the order.

"There was no indication this individual had access to weapons, we need to know that information," he said.

But YWCA prevention coordinator Mariel Batista cautions the blame should not be put on the victim when it's the system that failed her.

"Victims are always afraid, even when they go file a restraining order, there are a lot of things that they don't say," Batista said.

Rivera says he and the police chief are meeting with the administration of Lawrence District Court today to discuss what happened and develop strategies to expedite restraining order transmissions going forward.

The mayor says they will also being ordering a new server and trying to put in additional backups to prevent this from happening again.

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