Domestic violence victims’ advocate speaks out on behalf of family of Skylar Hartman, killed in murder-suicide

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MILWAUKEE --  In the early hours of the new year, two-year-old Skylar Hartman was shot and killed by her father, Brett Hartman, before he turned the gun on himself. Officials with the Sojourner Family Peace Center on Thursday, January 14th spoke out on behalf of Skylar's family.

Memorial at scene of murder-suicide in Cudahy

Memorial at scene of murder-suicide in Cudahy

Less than two hours into the New Year, early on January 1st, Cudahy police received a 911 call from a home on Whittaker Avenue.

Police found two-year-old Skylar Hartman and her father, 27-year-old Brett Hartman in the home, suffering from gunshot wounds.

Brett Hartman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Skylar was pronounced dead at Children's Hospital.

Skylar Hartman

Skylar Hartman

Heartbroken by the loss, Skylar's mother, Heather Monroe, shared pictures to help keep her daughter's memory alive.

Carmen Pitre, Sojourner Family Peace Center executive director

Carmen Pitre, Sojourner Family Peace Center executive director

"She wants Skylar to be remembered for more than what happened," said Carmen Pitre, Sojourner Family Peace Center executive director.

Monroe said Skylar was a happy little girl with lots of friends. She loved to go to the library, swim and enjoyed Irish dancing.

"I think it's important for us to remember that and have that be the framework of how her life is honored," said Pitre.

Pitre's second message was about Brett Hartman. Pitre said Monroe wants the world to know that Hartman was never physically violent with Monroe or Skylar.

Skylar Hartman

Skylar Hartman

"I don't know what Brett said or didn't say. I know that Heather isn't to blame for what he did to Skylar," said Pitre.


What Pitre and others with the Sojourner Family Peace Center ask is that we learn from this tragedy.

"Our call to the community is to understand that this horrible tragedy happened -- and how can we dedicate ourselves as a community to get educated about helping others? This family has been horribly hurt. How can I add dignity and respect to that circumstance? How can I not help and not hurt?" said Pitre.

The Sojourner Family Peace Center has a 24-hour hotline and 211 can also direct you to prevention services.

If the potential threat is more immediate, you should call police -- even simply for a welfare check.

Related resources:

LINKS: Helpful resources for those affected by domestic violence

Sojourner Family Peace Center 24-hour domestic violence hotline: 414-933-2722

Milwaukee Women's Center hotline numbers: 
24-Hour Crisis Line:  (414) 671-6140
Domestic Violence Hotline:  (414) 933-2722
National Domestic Violence Hotline:  (800) 799-SAFE

Emergency shelter for domestic violence victims:
Milwaukee Women’s Center’s Shelter:  (414) 671-6140
Sojourner Family Peace Center   (414) 933-2722
Waukesha Women’s Center   (262) 542-3828

Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin

Google Map for coordinates 42.965476 by -87.860054.

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