Although the homicide rate in Richmond County is ahead of last year’s pace, arrests have been made in every slaying but one.
“We had good success,” Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Blaise Dresser said about his department’s efforts, what police refer to as a solve rate.
“We’d like to see the murders stop, but there’s no way to predict (what will happen).”
Law enforcement officials consider a homicide solved as soon as a judge issues an arrest warrant, whether the suspect is ever convicted in court or even captured.
Richmond County had its 23rd homicide Wednesday, when investigators found 66-year-old Russell Boyd fatally shot on Camille Street.
Police said they were told where the suspect, Ronnie Lee Berrian, 28, might be hiding and captured him within several hours, charging him with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
In 2011, the county reported its 23rd homicide Dec. 7, ending the year with 27. Arrests have been made in 19 of the 2011 killings.
Dresser said no one thing explains the higher percentage of homicide arrests this year. He said the sheriff’s office has been fortunate to find witnesses and leads early in the investigations.
The last year the sheriff’s office made arrests in all its homicide cases was 2007.
The 2012 case with no suspects is the January shooting death of Kyle Royal.
The 16-year-old was shot Jan. 16 outside Magic City, a nightclub operating illegally at 3200 Mike Padgett Highway.
In June, the sheriff’s office paid for three electronic billboards hoping to generate tips in the case, but none came. The billboards displayed Royal’s photo, an image of the gun that killed him and a $5,000 reward.
“There are witnesses but they’re not telling us anything,” Dresser said.