Authorities say policing changes fueled homicide drop

Richmond County police are crediting an increased community presence with this year’s 42 percent drop in homicides compared with last year.

“A homicide is never predictable,” said Rich­mond County sheriff’s Lt. Calvin Chew, “but being involved in the community is helping decrease the numbers.”

Chew believes the increased visibility and involvement of community policing has officers diffusing situations that have the potential to escalate into a homicide.

In 2012, the sheriff’s office reported 33 homicides. This year, there have been 19 through the weekend, with the latest taking place early Sunday.

Homicide investigator Sgt. William Leisey said the Criminal Investigation Division has noticed that people have changed their attitudes since the sheriff’s office began focusing on community policing. As a result of increased visibility and more patrols, investigators are seeing fewer parking lot and street shootouts, he said.

Investigators believe community trust also helps witnesses provide information in open cases.

With Sunday’s shooting, only two cases remain unsolved this year, down from four in 2012.

Police have added a new category of justifiable homicides, with one last year and three this year.

Police continue to investigate the death of Yossarian Shon Brooks, 39, who was fatally shot June 11 near his home on Massoit Drive.

“Everything we had on that case, we’ve looked at so far,” Investigator Chris Lang­ford said.

Whereas some years saw more drug-related crimes, investigators said there have been a high number of family-related slayings this year. Eight victims died as a result of a family-related incident.

Five of the homicides occurred in two separate incidents over the summer.

Retired educators Roose­velt and Edna Jones and their son, Russell Jones, were discovered in a field behind Deer Chase Elementary on May 21. Ryan Jones, 27, is accused of killing his parents and younger brother before taking them to the field, where their bodies were burned.

Two months later, police were investigating what could have been another triple homicide. Police believe Cedric Harris, 31, shot ex-wife April Paulk and her sister and brother-in-law, Lee and Brandi Wilson, at a home on Stanton Court on
July 21 before turning the gun on himself. Lee and Bran­di Wilson died, while April Paulk was critically injured.

Police say the most complex case of the year was the Feb. 20 death of 17-month old Kaidence Alexander. Police worked for months interviewing witnesses and speaking with forensics experts, doctors and others to determine the age of the injuries and who was responsible.

In December, police were able to obtain enough evidence to charge the child’s uncle, Jerome Hughs, 36.

2013 HOMICIDES

JAN. 1: Edward Yancy, 21, was shot in the parking lot of Club Fiesco, 2925 Peach Orchard Road. Deontre Alvez Hubert, 18, was charged.

FEB. 22: Kaidence Alexander, 17 months, was hospitalized for internal injuries that resulted in her death. Her uncle, Jerome Hughs, 36, was charged in December.

APRIL 16: Linda Crumbley, 57, died after she and her children, Mario Crumbley, 33, and Dekrizia Crumbley, 27, were shot outside their Biltmore Place home. Steve Alexander Allen, 52, was arrested in Valdosta, Ga.

APRIL 30: Courtney Bell, 23, was shot at the Gordon Highway Red Carpet Inn. Jabali Jerome Howard, 29, was charged.

MAY 21: Roosevelt Jones, 65; Edna Jones, 64; and Russell Jones, 20; were killed at their home and burned in a field off Tobacco Road. The couple’s son, Ryan Jones, 26, was charged.

JUNE 6: Larry Bernard Elam Jr., 31, was shot during an argument at his Milledgeville Avenue home. Darrian Antwonn Williams, 24, was charged.

JUNE 11: Yossarian Shon Brooks, 39, was shot on Massoit Drive. No charges have been filed.

JUNE 30: Angela Lee, 37, was shot during an argument with her husband, Timothy Lee, at her home on Crawfordville Drive. Lee, 34, then killed himself.

JULY 19: Marquez Eubanks, 19, was shot at a house party on East Kensington Drive. Dijon Cortez Abbott, 17, was charged.

JULY 21: Lee Wilson, 31, and his wife Brandi, 35, were shot by her former brother-in-law, Cedric Tobias Harris, 31, who later killed himself.

AUG. 27: Charlie David Davis Jr., 31, was shot. Three men were charged: Curtis Bonman, 30; Killeon Cooper, 20; and Thaddeaus Williams, 33.

SEPT. 17: Datravious Hoskins, 18, was stabbed on Neptune Drive after an argument over a video game system. Zamartae Davis, 15, was charged as an adult.

OCT. 13: James Marshall, 44, was shot at Carrie and D’Antignac streets. Ezra Lay, 44, was charged.

NOV. 11: Delarrion Smith, 18, was shot by his friend, Dominigue Sullivan, 19, who believed the gun was unloaded.

NOV. 22: The body of Dr. Charles Mann, 60, of Kathleen, Ga., was discovered in Spirit Creek after he was reported missing. Glenn Vincent Riggs II, 22, was charged with murder and robbery.

DEC. 29: Ralph Harrell, 40, was shot in the chest at Scottish Inn on Stevens Creek Road.

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