SAN FRANCISCO - It's a taboo subject that people don't like to talk about: domestic violence. Advocates for stopping domestic violence say shining a light on this deadly problem is an important step. The case of a woman killed inside the Chinese Christian Church in San Francisco's Ingelside neighborhood on Sunday is a sadly familiar story.
The church pastor tells KTVU that 37 year old Jieyun Zhou was from China and didn't have family here other than her husband and two children.
Zhou became part of the congregation at the end of 2016. She was there on Sunday afternoon afternoon, March 25, when her estranged husband Wyn Leung came inside the church around 1pm.
According to court papers, a church staff member reportedly heard screams and saw the 41-year-old Leung with his arm around his wife and a knife in his hand. Leung is accused of stabbing his wife in the chest and back before stabbing himself.
In a police dispatch call, an officer said, "Female with multiple stab wounds. Male did have the knife but he dropped it. We have him in custody."
Zhou later died at the hospital.
A neighbor of the couple who asked KTVU not to reveal her identity said she's saddened. "I'm shocked, absolutely shocked," said the neighbor. She said the couple moved into their home about five years ago in the Broadmoor community near Daly City and that the couple had two young children, a boy and a girl.
The neighbor described the family as happy. She pointed to a deflated balloon hanging by the front of the home, a remnant of a birthday party for one of the couple's children held just two weeks ago.
"You'd see them leave in their minivan on trips with the bikes and the little kids. They were totally normal. The husband was very friendly. He'd always say hi to us by name," said the neighbor.
But San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said police responded to numerous disturbance calls at the home.
He said Leung was twice charged with domestic violence that involved his wife. A 2013 case was dismissed.
"The victim came to us and said I don't want to cooperate any further. I want my husband to come home. I don't want to have this against him," said Wagstaffe.
The case from last year resulted in a plea bargain. Leung was sentenced to probation and was issued a stay away--no contact order that is still in effect.
"We know about the honeymoon period where the offender will come back and try to get back in the good graces and often victim will drop charges," said Wagstaffe.
Zhou filed for divorce in December.
Advocates for victims said that can be a danger period because perpetrators are usually given second chances and when they see the victim taking steps to leave for good, they want to retaliate.
An important step for stopping the cycle of violence is education.
"Bring the issue to light that there are resources out there. There are places that can help," said Melissa Bergson, program director with the nonprofit La Casa De Las Madres.
Wyn Leung was appointed a public defender Wednesday. He faces charges of murder, felony battery, injury on a peace officer and resisting arrest. He is expected to make his first court appearance on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at the San Francisco Hall of Justice.
The couple's two children are now living with the suspect's parents.