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Pulaski County homicide toll up

Police investigate 11 killings in May, topping same month in 2022, 2021 by Grant Lancaster | June 4, 2023 at 7:39 a.m.
The lights of a police vehicle are shown in a June 24, 2021 AP file photo. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Police investigated 11 homicides in Pulaski County during May, making the month's death toll one higher than last May's and three higher than the number investigated during the same month in 2021, records showed.

The heightened number of homicides reported last month brought the total for the year so far to 37, markedly lower than the 52 killings reported by the end of May 2022 and slightly less than the 40 killings reported in the first five months of 2021, data shows.

The main difference between last month and previous Mays, however, was the distribution of the killings. In the past two years, homicides in Little Rock made up the majority of those investigated in May. Last month, killings in the capital city made up less than half of the toll.

Little Rock and North Little Rock police each investigated four killings, Arkansas State Police two and Jacksonville police one.

That made for the least deadly May in Little Rock since 2019, when just two killings were reported. By contrast, it was the deadliest May in North Little Rock since 2011, when police also reported four killings, the most in that month since 1990, records showed.

The state police investigation into a double homicide near Scott was unusual, with Lt. Cody Burk of the Pulaski County sheriff's office saying it was in the county's jurisdiction and most likely would have fallen to their deputies if state troopers had not responded first, thinking it was a traffic incident.

Jacksonville's homicide was the first reported in the city so far this year. The last time Jacksonville police investigated a homicide during May was 2017, records showed.

So far this year, Little Rock police have investigated 20 homicides across 19 separate incidents, with one of the incidents a double homicide. By the end of May in 2022, Little Rock police had already investigated 36 deaths in 34 incidents. In 2021, Little Rock police had investigated 27 homicides by the end of May.

North Little Rock police have so far investigated 12 killings, compared with nine by the end of May in both 2022 and 2021.

Pulaski County deputies have investigated just one killing so far this year, compared with five by the end of May 2022 and four by the end of May 2021.

Last year, the death toll across the county rose to 121, the deadliest year on record since at least 2011 and likely since 1990. Maumelle police were unable to provide data on homicides in their city prior to 2011, but as the department has never reported more than two killings in any year since that date, it was unlikely that any previous year's countywide death toll would rival 2022's. Prior to 2022, the highest number of killings was 112 in 1993.

Little Rock's 81 homicides in 2022 set a record for the capital city, surpassing the previous high of 76 in 1993.

Demographically, the people killed in May were similar -- all were male, all of those for whom race information had been released were Black and all were between the ages of 16 and 38. Authorities had yet to release one victim's race Saturday.

So far in 2023, 32 of the 37 victims -- 86% -- have been male and the other five female. Twenty-eight were Black, five were white, one was Hispanic and the race of three victims had not been publicly released. The average age of a homicide victim in the first five months of 2023 was 30.

All of May's homicides were shooting deaths. So far this year, suspects used guns in 29, or 79%, of the 37 killings, records showed. Of the other eight, two were stabbings, one was a crossbow shooting, three were caused by physical trauma and one victim had drowned.

For comparison, in 2022, shooting deaths made up 103, or 85%, of the slayings, while six were vehicular killings, five were stabbings and two were by other means. In five cases, the cause of death could not be identified by police or had not been released.

North Little Rock police investigated the first homicide of the month on May 6, when officers responded to a report of gunshots about 2 a.m. in the 4100 block of Camp Robinson Road.

A few minutes later, police discovered a vehicle in the middle of the road in the 800 block of West 41st Street with its flashers on and discovered Larry Drone Jr., 21, of Little Rock shot inside. He died at the scene.

Police had not released any suspect information in the slaying as of Saturday.

Also on May 6, around 5 p.m., Marvell Harris, 29, of Little Rock arrived at an area hospital with gunshot wounds that proved fatal, not long after Little Rock police received a report of someone shooting at a car near 600 W. Roosevelt Road.

Officers on May 23 arrested Yusaf Muhammad, 21, who faces a capital murder charge in the killing. On May 25, police tweeted that Darious Alford, 21, is also a suspect in the shooting, and he was still wanted on a capital murder warrant Saturday.

Muhammad was being held in the Pulaski County jail on Saturday without bond, the jail's online inmate roster showed.

On May 13, North Little Rock police responding to a report of shots fired near the Rest Inn at 5801 Pritchard Road around 1:05 a.m. found Jeremiah Broadus, 38, of Maumelle lying shot near a breezeway. He later died at an area hospital.

State troopers on May 19 arrested Dedrick Brigance, 30, who faces felony charges of capital murder, perpetrating a crime with a machine gun and possession of firearms by certain persons in connection to Broadus' killing. He pleaded innocent to the charges May 23, court records show.

Brigance was being held in the Pulaski County jail without bond on Saturday, jail records showed.

Little Rock police responding to a report of shots fired just after midnight on May 14 near 10713 Chicot Road located two people who had been shot. One of them, 19-year-old Timothy Price, died of his wounds.

Police had yet to release any suspect information in the homicide as of Saturday.

Jacksonville police around 7:40 p.m. on May 17 responded to a report of a homicide near 218 S. J.P. Wright Loop Road and located Titus Stigall, 17, of Jacksonville, who had been fatally shot.

Following reports from witnesses, police arrested Zaevion Webster, 20, and Jauri Taylor, 18, who face capital murder charges in the slaying.

Webster threatened another person at the scene with his gun and shot Stigall when the teenager pulled a gun of his own, police have said. He pleaded innocent to felony counts of capital murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated assault on May 18, court records showed.

Taylor drove Webster away from the scene after the shooting, police reports indicated. He pleaded innocent to felony counts of capital murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault and first-degree criminal mischief on May 18, court records showed.

Webster was being held in the Pulaski County jail on Saturday, an online inmate roster showed, but Taylor did not appear on the online roster. Court records did not indicate that Taylor had posted bond as of Saturday.

On May 18, North Little Rock police arrived in the 5800 block of Lynch Drive after getting a call about an accidental shooting and located Benjamin Reddix, 18, of White Wall. Reddix died of his gunshot wound.

Jimari Douglas, 17, of Yorktown in Lincoln County, who called 911 after the shooting, is being charged as an adult with manslaughter in the killing. He had not yet entered a plea in the case Saturday, court records showed. Minors are not listed in the Pulaski County jail's online inmate roster, but court records indicated he posted bond on May 22.

Arkansas State Police troopers on May 23 discovered LeMarion Gilliam, 19, and Sucram O'Donald, 16, shot on the side of the road on Arkansas 161 south of Scott, a news release from the state policing agency stated.

Few details have been released in the case, and state police had yet to name a suspect in the shootings Saturday.

Also on May 23, North Little Rock police around 11:51 p.m. investigated a shooting outside the Hemlock Courts Public Housing Apartments at 400 Palm St. that killed Raymond Hudson, 16, of North Little Rock.

Police had yet to release any suspect information in the killing as of Saturday.

Little Rock police on May 28 located a body in a wooded area near the 2600 block of West 12th Street and began an investigation into the death.

Authorities determined that the victim, identified as James Moore, 30, had been fatally shot on May 27 near the intersection of 11th and Thayer streets, not far from where the body was found.

Police arrested Omarion Taylor, 20, on Friday, and he faces a capital murder charge. He was being held in the Pulaski County jail Saturday, an online inmate roster showed.

On May 29, around 11 p.m., Little Rock police responding to a report of a shooting at the Fair Oaks Apartments at 9600 W. 36th St. located Dantas Evins, 30, of Little Rock, and a 17-year-old shot.

Evins died of his wounds. Police have not identified the teenager, who survived.

Detectives identified Antonio Holden, 32, of Little Rock as a suspect in the case, but due to the circumstances of the shooting, which police have not fully released, the case file was sent to a prosecutor for review, to see if the shooting was justified or if Holden will face criminal charges.

Police arrested Holden on an unrelated warrant on May 30, they said, and he was being held in the Pulaski County jail on Saturday, the jail's inmate roster showed.

So far in 2023, Little Rock police have made arrests in 13 of the 19 homicide cases they have investigated, with one of the cases being a double homicide. In some cases, multiple suspects were arrested and charged.

Another case, the May 29 homicide, was in file review and another had been closed by exception because the suspect took his own life after police say he killed the victim.

This year, North Little Rock police have made arrests in seven of 12 homicide cases, while an eighth was in file review with a prosecutor.

Pulaski County deputies made an arrest in the only homicide they have investigated so far this year. Sherwood police, too, made an arrest in the only killing reported in their jurisdiction. Jacksonville police have also made arrests in the city's only homicide this year.

  photo  This map and chart show the homicides that occurred in Pulaski County during May. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

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