Savannah marks 50th homicide of 2016

SAVANNAH, Ga. — A 25-year-old Savannah man was arrested Wednesday for the fatal shooting of one man and the shooting of another as Savannah-Chatham police investigate its jurisdiction’s 50th homicide of 2016.

 

Police say Joshua DeBerry was killed about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday on the 400 block of East 49th Street. Police found DeBerry outside of his house suffering from a life-threatening gunshot wound, said Eunicia Baker, police spokeswoman.

DeBerry was taken to Memorial University Medical Center, where he died.

Police arrested Tamaron Varner for the shooting death less than two hours later at his home on the 700 block of East 39th Street. Investigators believe DeBerry was shot during a dispute with Varner regarding a business transaction, Baker said.

Evidence also linked Varner to a shooting on the 700 block of East 39th Street that injured a 48-year-old man Tuesday afternoon, Baker said.

Varner is charged with murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during commission of a crime in DeBerry’s death, Baker said. Varner also faces charges of criminal attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm during commission of a crime for the Tuesday shooting, Baker said.

DeBerry’s death comes nearly two weeks since the jurisdiction’s 48th and 49th homicides, unrelated shootings that both occurred Dec. 11 after a lull in shooting violence in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

“The only thing I can say is it’s 50 more than we wanted,” said Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach on Wednesday night about DeBerry’s death and the jurisdiction reaching 50 homicides. “We have to continue to push forward with the programs we have in place and see if we can continue to push those numbers down. I think we are heading in the right direction, but anytime you have death, it’s not good.”

Officials made fighting crime in the Savannah area a focus in 2016, and have repeatedly stressed that the battle to lower the city’s crime rate is working with programs such as the End Gun Violence initiative.

 

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