Seven homicides investigated in Pulaski County in November

Pulaski County’s toll 7 last month

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Police in Pulaski County investigated seven homicides during November, placing the month's death toll one below October's total, but higher than in September.

Six of the killings were in Little Rock, and one was in North Little Rock. So far this year, law enforcement officers have investigated 55 homicides in Little Rock, 19 in North Little Rock, two in Sherwood, one in Jacksonville and six in the unincorporated areas of the county.

The killings in the unincorporated areas include a double homicide being investigated by the Arkansas State Police because it was initially thought to be outside the jurisdiction of the sheriff's office.

In the capital city, November's death toll was one higher than the one reported last November but equal to the total reported in November 2021. The last three Novembers have all been deadlier than November 2020, when just two slayings were reported in the city.

By the end of this November, the 55 homicides in Little Rock represented a roughly 27% decrease from the 75 reported in the first 11 months of 2022. That year, the number of killings in Little Rock reached 81, surpassing the previous record of 76 reported in 1993.

North Little Rock's single homicide made last month one of the least deadly months so far this year in the city. The total was notably lower than the five homicides reported last November and the three reported in both November 2021 and November 2020.

In the first 11 months of 2022, North Little Rock police investigated 21 homicides, translating to a roughly 9% decrease in killings in the city so far this year.

The Pulaski County sheriff's office has so far this year also marked a drop in homicides, going from nine killings by the end of November 2022 to four so far this year, a decrease of about 55%.

The youngest person killed last month was 17 and the oldest was 47, placing the average age of a homicide victim in November -- 28 years old -- slightly below the average of about 31 across the first 11 months of 2023.

All of the people killed in November were Black. It was the fifth month this year in which all of the month's homicide victims were Black. So far this year, 70 -- about 83% -- of homicide victims were Black, while 11 -- about 13% -- were white and 3 -- about 4% -- were Hispanic.

The rate at which Black people are killed in Pulaski County is more than double their proportion of the population in Little Rock -- 41% -- and Pulaski County -- 39% -- and a little less than double their proportion in North Little Rock, where they make up 44% of the population, U.S. Census Bureau records show.

All but one of the people killed in November were men. So far this year, 71, or about 85%, of those killed were men, while 13, or about 15%, were women.

Every one of the people killed in November died of gunshot wounds. Of the 79 homicides so far this year in which authorities have provided a cause of death, 68, or 86%, were shooting deaths.

The first homicide of the month came Nov. 4, when Little Rock police investigated the killing of Maryam Ballard, 47, of North Little Rock, who was found shot dead in the road near 2407 S. Cross St.

Detectives had yet to publicly identify any suspects in Ballard's killing by Saturday.

On Nov. 5, Little Rock officers responding to a report of a shooting at The Canopy apartments at 9201 Kanis Road located Carlos Thurman, 19, of Little Rock shot. Thurman was taken to an area hospital but died of his wounds.

Authorities had not publicly identified any suspects in Thurman's slaying by Saturday.

Little Rock police on Nov. 13 responded to a report of a shooting outside the Amazon Fulfillment Center at 7001 Zeuber Road, where they found Xanus Robinson, 18, of Jacksonville shot. Robinson died of his wounds at an area hospital.

Police had yet to publicly identify any suspects in Robinson's killing Saturday.

On Nov. 18, Little Rock police responding to a report of a shooting at the West Park Executive Building at 7101 W. 12th St. found Marcus Marbley, 17, of Little Rock shot dead in a vehicle outside the office building.

Detectives determined the shooting had happened on the fourth floor of the building, and made contact with three other shooting victims who had been injured and gone to area hospitals for treatment after the shooting.

Police had yet to publicly identify any suspects in Marbley's slaying Saturday.

On Nov. 20, Little Rock police responding to a report of a person shot outside the Citgo convenience store at 5924 Baseline Road located Robert Overton, 28, who died of his wounds at the scene.

While gathering evidence and reviewing surveillance footage from the area, detectives observed a Nissan Maxima that had been in the area of the shooting for up to an hour before Overton's killing, an affidavit written by a detective states.

The person who killed Overton fired from the window of the Nissan, which is registered to Joseph Walker, 40, of Sherwood, the affidavit states.

Sherwood police notified Little Rock detectives that they had served a search warrant at Walker's residence and vehicle related to a separate incident on Nov. 20 and observed a rifle in a bag in the home and spent shell casings in the vehicle, the affidavit states.

Sherwood officers arrested Walker on a second-degree criminal impersonation charge Nov. 22, the Pulaski County jail's online inmate roster showed.

Little Rock police also searched Walker's residence after getting a warrant and reported finding the rifle, more spent shell casings and "green tip" ammunition that matched projectiles pulled from the convenience store wall behind where Overton was standing when he was shot.

The affidavit doesn't list the caliber of the rifle Walker used, but "green tip" rounds usually refer to a .223 caliber round -- the bullet fired by most AR-15-style rifles -- that has a steel tip embedded in the lead bullet to allow the round to penetrate barriers or light body armor more easily. These style of bullets are regularly used by the U.S. military, but are available on the civilian market.

Walker was also seen on video footage entering the convenience store shortly before the shooting, and a distinctive tattoo on his leg helped police positively identify him, the affidavit states. He was charged with capital murder in Overton's death Nov. 29 and was being held in the Pulaski County jail Saturday evening.

North Little Rock police responding on Nov. 21 to a report of a person shot at a residence in the 1500 block of West 35th Street located Jason Smith, 43, of North Little Rock inside. Smith died of his wounds at an area hospital.

Authorities had yet to publicly identify any suspects in Smith's slaying Saturday.

Little Rock police on Nov. 27 responded to a report of a "subject down" near 2800 Boyle Park Road and located Avron Britton, 21, of College Station lying dead in the road.

Police have yet to publicly identify any suspects in Britton's killing by Saturday.

By the end of November, Little Rock police had made arrests in 30 of the 50 separate homicide investigations opened by the department. Some incidents had multiple deceased victims, while others had multiple suspects arrested.

A further two cases were closed by exception because the leading suspects died by suicide just after the victims were killed, and three more cases were in file review, a process in which a prosecutor reviews the case file created by police to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

By that same date, North Little Rock police had made arrests in nine of their 19 homicide investigations. One more of their cases was in file review, while another was the police shooting of an armed suspect.

Pulaski County deputies have arrested suspects in all four of their homicide investigations so far this year.

Sherwood police, who have not had a homicide reported in their jurisdiction since July, have made arrests in half of their two homicide investigations so far this year.

Jacksonville police made an arrest in their only homicide investigation so far this year in May.

The double homicide under investigation by the state police happened in May on Arkansas 161 near Scott. State police have yet to announce any arrests in that investigation.