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Dayton homicides in 2016 now total 36

Dayton police say drug- and robbery-related homicides are up; teen arrested in Saturday homicide on West Norman Avenue

A 17-year-old male was arrested in connection with Saturday’s homicide on West Norman Avenue while police are still searching for suspects involved in a triple shooting Monday that left one man dead on Victor Avenue — Dayton’s 35th and 36th homicides of 2016.

That puts the city on pace for 39 homicides this year, a big spike from the 29 in 2015 or the 27 each in 2014, 2013 and 2012. The last year Dayton had 40 homicides was 2009.

Dayton police Lt. Col. Matt Carper said the city has seen a rise in drug- and robbery-related homicides and a similar number of domestic violence-related killings — most of which involved people who knew each other.

“Based on what we’ve seen not just this year, but in recent history in the city of Dayton, it’s very uncommon or very rare … for someone to be a victim of a violent encounter by a total stranger,” Carper said. “So in a significant number of these cases, the violent acts were committed by an acquaintance or as a result of living a high-risk lifestyle.”

Drug-related homicides have risen from four in 2015 to at least seven this year; robbery-related homicides are up from two in 2015 to six this year and domestic violence-related killings inched up from eight in 2015 to nine this year. Some homicides haven’t been classified yet, Carper said.

Carper said Dayton’s violent crime rate (murder, rape, armed robbery, robbery and aggravated assault) is up 3 percent from 2015 but down about 20 percent from the mid-to-late 2000’s.

Dayton police said of the incidents that led to the 36 deaths, all but nine cases either have suspects or are in the court system. There are 10 detectives who investigate homicides and felonious assaults and a sergeant who oversees the division.

“We have crime analysts who evaluate crime data every single day and identify any kind of crime patterns by crime mapping, repeat incident locations, repeat offenders and those are assigned and worked proactively by officers and detectives in order to reduce crime and keep problems from escalating,” Carper said.

Dayton police Lt. Andrew Booher said despite the arrest of a 17-year-old male in connection with the shooting death of 32-year-old Benjamin Warner of Lebanon, investigators are still working the case.

Booher said officers are talking to witnesses and looking for any surveillance video in the area. Booher didn’t expand on the identity of the juvenile and said he didn’t know if the teen had an extensive criminal record.

Warner was found Saturday night next to a car behind a vacant house at 155 W. Norman Avenue. A 911 caller reported hearing six or seven gunshots at 7:30 p.m. Neighbors reported they heard a car leaving the area. Booher said he didn’t know why Warner was in Dayton.

A dramatic 911 call from Monday’s triple-shooting at 120 Victor Avenue featured a woman yelling and crying about the death of 40-year-old John Dixon.

Booher said a 56-year-0ld male who was shot was still in critical condition on Tuesday but that a 25-year-old female who was shot would “be fine.”

Booher said the incident was not a home invasion and investigators were working to verify whether drugs were being sold in the house.

“Apparently, there was a knock at the door earlier in the evening,” Booher said. “Two individuals walked inside the house, or were allowed inside the house. The subject who is now deceased asked his girlfriend and her two small kids to go upstairs.

“About an hour later, she heard a series of shots. When she came downstairs, then she found the three people laying down on the floor shot.”

Carper and Booher both asked for a “call to action” for citizens to give tips to police to help solve and prevent homicides.

“It absolutely makes our case,” Booher said. “I mean, technology can only get you so far, but it’s the people coming forward, witnesses coming forward, citizens who may have seen something coming forward.”

Booher said people can call Crime Stoppers at (937) 222-STOP. “A lot of it is just putting the puzzle together of what actually happened. If (people) don’t feel comfortable contacting us, they can go through their church, they can contact Crime Stoppers and we’ll get information that way.”

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