Wednesday, December 27, 2017

In a year with 200 plus slayings, most St Louis victims are black men in unsolved cases

The following article appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on December 23rd

Daikel Lamont Fletcher was the first to be slain in St. Louis this year, his body found in a backyard in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood, his car stolen.

Fletcher was gunned down on the fourth day of the new year. Nearly 12 months later, three women trying to escape attackers in a home invasion were shot dead in a car early Friday.
Daikel Fletcher

That triple murder pushed the annual homicide count to 203, the most the city has seen in a single year since 1995, when there were 204 victims. (The city’s population in 1995 was about 50,000 more than what it is today.)

“Society is changing,” St. Louis Police Lt. John Green, who runs the homicide division, said at a press conference. “The value of life is not there anymore. They don’t care.”

Green and Acting Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole repeated pleas to the public for assistance solving the cases.

“Any small thing can help,” Green said.

The total excludes homicides ruled justified, such as cases of self-defense, and fatal police shootings. The unfortunate milestone for homicides comes as St. Louis is trying to hire a new police chief from among three internal and three external candidates.

Statistics compiled by the St. Louis Police Department provide a look at who the victims are and what homicide detectives are up against.

The deaths of the three women Friday morning bring to 27 the number of female homicide victims in St. Louis this year. But mostly, the victims are black men, the motives unknown, and the murders unsolved.

For the cases in which the motive is known, about 30 involve an argument; about a dozen involve robbery; and fewer than 10 victims each were thought to be victims of drug-related or retaliatory killings.

Most of the victims were in their 20s, though eight were 16 or younger and four were 60 or older. Nearly all, 165, were black males. The remaining victims were: 25 black females, 10 white males, two white females and one Hispanic male. And nearly all died in shootings.

And just as in Fletcher’s case, most of the murders remain unsolved. Fletcher’s case is, in many respects, representative of the kind of homicides police in St. Louis are struggling to solve in 2017.

Fletcher, 22, of Northwoods, was shot multiple times on Jan. 4 in the 3200 block of Dodier Street. Residents heard the gunshots and called police. Officers found Fletcher unconscious in the backyard of a residence. He died at the scene.

Police broadcast a description of Fletcher’s car, a black 2011 Dodge Charger. They distributed photos of it and asked for the public’s help finding it.

More than three months later, police found the Dodge in the 10000 block of Crowley Drive in Dellwood. St. Louis police spokeswoman Schron Jackson said that detectives had “persons of interest” in the killing that but no one had been arrested or charged.

On what would have been Fletcher’s 23rd birthday in March, family and friends mourned “Tews” wearing shirts emblazoned with his photo. All over his Facebook page, Fletcher can be seen in old videos singing lyrics to rap songs, flashing gang signs and, at times, posing with handguns or pointing the weapon at a videographer. In one photo he holds five handguns.

Police haven’t said what they think the motive was in Fletcher’s killing. Police say it could harm their investigation if they talk about a potential motive in open cases. And they aren’t saying if they think his murder is connected to the shooting death in Florissant on Feb. 1 of one of Fletcher’s closest friends, Antwoine Robinson.

Last week, the city of St. Louis said about 35 percent of its homicides this year had been solved. By comparison, the clearance rate nationally for murder is about 60 percent.

Ed.  Don’t feel badly for St. Louis, for its residents are doing FAR better than those who live in Chicago. In the Windy City, year to date, there have been 666 homicides, 616 killed with a firearm. As for the victims, 502 have been Black, 111 Hispanic and 18 White. And 544 of the homicides, thus far, have NO SUSPECT CHARGED! The Clearance Rate in Chicago is appx 12%.

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