2017: Trenton’s homicides by the numbers
After an ambush-style New Year’s Eve slaying, the capital city concluded 2017 with 24 homicides, which includes the deaths of Lea Pringle and Rodney Taylor, whom both were killed by hit-and-run drivers.
That number does not include the “suspicious death” of Lillian Duran, whose body was found wrapped in a trash bag on the side of Lamberton Street. A medical examiner ruled Duran’s death inconclusive, but law enforcement sources believe she died from a drug overdose after being forced to take a “hot bag” of dope, then later dumped on the side of the road as a warning to others.
That number also excludes the suspicious death of Gregory Wright Jr., who was found unresponsive in his Lexus in the area of Spring Street and Kafer Alley. Prosecutors await an official autopsy report and have not publicly announced his death as a homicide, but police sources with knowledge of the investigation believe he was assaulted before being placed in his car, where detectives later found him.
According to the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit, death by autos are considered manslaughter and are not reported as a homicide statistic. Therefore, NJSP will report Trenton’s official 2017 homicide toll as 22.
The Trentonian, however, includes vehicular homicides in its yearly homicide count.
The 22 murders that will be officially reported to the FBI is the seventh highest number of homicides in a single calendar year to occur within this 7.5-square-mile capital city in the past 17 years (that ranking does not include vehicular homicides and justifiable police shooting deaths from previous years).
Using 2016 census data and the 22 killings state police will report to the FBI, Trenton’s 2017 murder rate is 26.17 homicides per 100,000 residents.
September was the deadliest month of last year, largely because of a three-day span during which three people died by gunfire and a fourth person was killed by a hit-and-run motorist. Three people were killed in each of the months of March, May, June, July and December. There were no homicides in April and November.
Nineteen victims were male; five were female.
Eleven homicides occurred in the North Ward, more than any other ward.
Six victims were in their 30s at the time of their death, and six victims were in their 40s when they died. Two teenagers were murdered last year as well.
The oldest victim was 61-year-old Rodney Taylor, killed by auto on Chambers Street. The youngest victim was 15-year-old Kyler Bragg, who was shot in the head during a shootout near the intersection of Division and Hewitt streets.
Nineteen victims were black, four were white and one was Hispanic.
Shootings killed 20 people in the capital city, more than any other homicide method. Two people were stabbed to death: 48-year-old Brenda Garzio and 35-year-old Christopher Johnson.
Nine victims were pronounced dead at the scene and 15 died at the hospital.
Twelve suspects were arrested in connection with homicides that occurred in 2017; two of them are juveniles and one is a female.
The majority of homicides happened between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. Eight killings occurred between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m.