Homicides in 2013 likely to see first increase since 2011

spedersen@ledger-enquirer.com, tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 10, 2013 

— Homicides in Columbus have stayed around the same number for the better part of three years.

But with two and a half months remaining in 2013, Columbus may break that steady streak.

According to police statistician Lt. Bill Rawn, Columbus has had 17 homicides this year, including the fatal shooting of Andy Phillip.

Body count

With the inclusion of three vehicular homicides, Columbus also had 17 total in 2011, and 17 more in 2012.

Columbus had 20 in 2010, and 14 in 2009, the year after the city's total had jumped to 33, including three vehicular homicides.

This year's homicides have come in spurts, starting with the fatal shooting Jan. 1 of Charles Foster at Club Majestic. Three more occurred in the first month of the year. Nine of the 17 homicides recorded so far were in the first quarter.

Then came two in April, two in June, one in July and two in September. May and August were the only two months Columbus had no homicides.

So far five of this year's 17 homicides remain unsolved — those of Brenda Lowe, Kristan "Blake" Dozier, Shannon Fields, Vashun Lemont Ramsey and Andy Phillip.

Anyone who may be able to help detectives clear the unsolved cases may call them at 706-653-3400.

Club shootings

Three deaths in individual club shootings played a major role in this year's homicides, sparking citizen demonstrations and leading to the closure of one nightclub.

The first shootings occurred New Year's Day at the now closed Club Majestic, claimed the life of 24-year-old Foster and injured six others, one of whom was shot in a car in the parking lot.

In February, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson moved forward with shutting down the club, which police said had been serving minors.

Shannon Calvin "Scooter" Fields Jr, 20, was gunned down on March 27 at the Foxy Lady Lounge. No suspects have been charged in that shooting, which remains under investigation.

On Sept. 14, 23-year-old Darren Gray allegedly shot Harry Short Jr. at Club Ciroc. Gray, who was a security guard at the club, claimed Short pointed a gun at him, but gave conflicting versions of the story. He used a Taser on Short prior to shooting him.

Car shootings

Phillip was among four victims found dead in cars this year. Three of those happened in the second half of the year.

Terry Hargett, 25, of Columbus was discovered slumped over in his car at the intersection of Old Cusseta Road and Antietam Drive in south Columbus when someone noticed there appeared to be a bullet hole in the driver’s door window.

After allegedly attempting to give his crack cocaine dealer counterfeit money on July 31st, 32-year-old Curtis Taron Turner was found shot in the back of his head in his car. He crashed into the back of a residence on North Oakley Drive.

Police say five suspects, intending to rob a "drug house" shot 28-year-old David Scott after attempting to rob him at Seventh Street and Coolidge Avenue.

Scott had just left his mother's house to buy beer when he was shot.

Detectives have been combing Branton Woods Drive for evidence and potential suspects after Columbus' latest homicide there. Preliminary autopsy results show Phillip died of a gunshot wound to the torso, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said Thursday. A bullet fired through the rear driver’s side window of the 1997 Mazda Protege Phillip was driving entered his back.

Phillip was found not far from his Viking Drive home.

Few details about that case have been determined. As of Thursday morning, Maj. Gene Hillhouse said no additional facts could be released.

Here is a full list of the 2013 homicides, including who has been charged and links to the stories:

1. Charles Foster Jr., Jan. 1, shot in a nightclub. Police charged Dequandrea Artavas Truitt and Shaquille Porter.

2. Brenda Lowe, Jan. 8, stabbed in her home. NOT SOLVED

3. Benney Pulley Jr., Jan. 27, found shot to death in his home. Police charged Javon Rice and Malcom White.

4. Kristan "Blake" Dozier, Jan. 28, fatally shot near Wilson Homes. NOT SOLVED

5. Victoria Jacquez, Feb. 5, killed in a murder-suicide committed by Gonzalo Raphael Garcia, police said.

6. Shannon Fields, March 27, shot in a nightclub. NOT SOLVED

7. Lakeisha Shoulders, March 29. Police charge Robert Junior Taylor.

8. Terry Hargett, March 31. Police charged Devante Oshea Shepard.

9. Maurice Streeter, shot March 24, died April 2. Police charged Jama Zanders.

10. Derickes Maurice Miles, April 19. Police charged Shakeim Malcolm Dorsey.

11. Vashun Lemont Ramsey, April 27, shot in the face. NOT SOLVED

12. William Robert Powell, injured June 7, died in Atlanta on June 9. On July 24, police charged stepfather Robert Guy Keller.

13. David Rutherford, June 26, found dead near his home. Police charged Cody Jamal Mathis.

14. Curtis Taron Turner, July 31, shot in his car. Police charged David Lee Morris.

15. Harry Short Jr., Sept. 14, shot outside Club Ciroc. Police charged Darren Gray.

16. David Scott, Sept. 19, shot in his friend's car. Police charged Tyrecquiss Shaewaun Wells, Jayln Dixon, Christopher Whitaker, Donald Fair and Christian Pender

17. Andy Phillip, Oct. 9, found dead in his mother's car. Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 706-653-3400. NOT SOLVED

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