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Almost one-third of female homicide victims reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner, according to information from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and women are more than three-and-a-half times more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men. The risk increases eight fold when the intimate partner owns a firearm.

Batavia native Nicole Sheehan, who police say was fatally shot by her boyfriend in Chautauqua County last month as they celebrated her birthday, will be remembered tonight in a candlelight vigil at the YWCA.

Nicole died Friday, June 20, in an Erie, Pa., hospital one day after she was shot by Sam Reynolds in Westfield.

She was 29 years old.

YW Executive Director Jeanne Walton says the vigil is to honor Nicole’s memory while raising awareness of the gravest result of domestic violence. She says people – not just victims -- need to speak up and reach out for help.

“I think it’s the denial for so many people,” she said, “from the victims, to family members and people struggle so much with whether or not to talk to somebody else when they believe something might be happening or whether or not to seek help themselves. Our position is: come to the YWCA and talk to us, even if you just want to have a conversation.”

Nicole was a graduate of Batavia High School and Genesee Community College before she went on to earn her degree in Special Education at SUNY Geneseo. Her obituary said that she “will be remembered for her infectious smile, selfless attitude and her joy of gift giving. In keeping with Nicole's loving and generous spirit her final gift on this earth was that of being an organ and tissue donor. She shared the Gift of Life with numerous families so their loved ones may live on. In this senseless tragedy Nicole is looking down from heaven and smiling on us all.”

The vigil starts tonight at 8 on the front lawn of the YWCA at 301 North Street, Batavia.

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