A domestic violence dispute has left a Queens family praying for the recovery of their relative. 35-year-old Victoria Chuminski was brutally beaten by her boyfriend, 53-year-old James Fitzgerald, on a public street in broad daylight.
Fitzgerald first used his fists and then, as he walked away, found a plank with exposed nails and returned to pummel Chuminski with it, according to the New York Daily News.
Chuminski was left with her face permanently disfigured.
Reports say that she lost several teeth and sight in one eye. The plank, with nails protruding from it, also caused puncture wounds on her body. “She’s not doing great,” said the victim’s emotional sister Shirley Mapes. “She really needs our prayers right now.”
The couple had been dating for five months and was reportedly homeless after being displaced from their apartment in New Jersey. Siblings were wary of Fitzgerald. He seemed to be extremely possessive. There was also an issue around the way the couple met. The two met in a rehab facility and had latched on to each other while in recovery.
Chuminski approached a different sister and asked if she and Fitzgerald could stay a few days with her.
Tenika Chuminski denied the request because she “wasn’t comfortable,” with her sister’s boyfriend staying in her home with her family. Tenika remembers that the two then went to a homeless shelter for assistance. “We sent her off with something to eat for both of them, and face masks and hand sanitizer,” she recalls.
The next time she would see her sister would have after the beating.
Fitzgerald was charged early Monday with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. He was held without bail during his arraignment in Queens Criminal Court and is due back in court on June 17.
According to Psychology Today, domestic violence is another sad side effect of the coronavirus pandemic. The United Nations Population Fund issued a warning that partner violence could increase by up to 20% worldwide.
Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted that he was “alarmed” by the rising domestic violence rates in his state.
I am alarmed by the reported increase in domestic violence incidents.
NYS wants you to know: You are not trapped because of #Coronavirus.
The State will help you find safe shelter.
Call 1-800-942-6906 if you need help. pic.twitter.com/wQUxNivtAp
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 6, 2020