This year has proved to be the deadliest Killeen has seen in the past 22 years, and maybe longer.
There have been 21 homicides this year, with Killeen police investigating 18 of them as criminal homicides.
The nature of another shooting remains undetermined.
On April 24, 15-year-old Daezion Turner, was shot and killed by police after he allegedly robbed a T-Mobile store at the Killeen Marketplace. Officer said they opened fire after he fired shots while running away from them. An official manner of death announcement will have to wait until the autopsy is completed, according to a spokesman with the Bell County District Attorney’s Office.
The most recently reported homicides were 34-year-old Courtney Jamal Nelson and Bernard Trumarde Winston-Haynes, also 34. They were found by police with gunshot wounds at the Lone Star Inn and Suites at 409 S. Second St. on Sunday. The preliminary investigation revealed that the two men shot each other to death after an altercation, police said.
Police are unsure whether this year is the second deadliest in the history of the city, said Killeen Police Department spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez.
At least 23 people were killed in 1991, due to a mass shooting at a Luby’s Cafeteria on Oct. 16, 1991. Twenty-four people died in that incident, including the gunman.
Police Chief Chuck Kimble introduced a special task force to try and slow the homicides in the city. An increased number of SWAT raids that targeted people involved in illegal drug sales suppressed the homicide rate in the city, which is trending upward. That task force lasted 45 days, but ended because it required a lot of manpower, and pulled officers away from their day-to-day jobs.
When 27-year-old Killeen resident Curtis Shelley was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke on Nov. 12, he became the first homicide in Killeen in 45 days. Prior to that, there were four homicides in the same amount of time, beginning with the death of Brandi Jo Cadena, 28, on Aug. 19 and ending with Stephen M. Rowe, 39, on Sept. 28.
“I saw the spikes that you saw, I said something’s going on, and no one had answers. I said guys, let’s find answers,” Kimble said Friday. “We had a somewhat defined geographical area, we had a list of bad guys, we knew it was somewhat drug related and we said ‘Alright, let’s go find these guys.”
Police have made arrests in just five of the cases in 2017. Five of the people killed were under the age of 25.
Other than 1991, the Herald could not find another year with 18 or more criminal homicides.
There were 16 criminal homicides in 2016, according to crime data from the FBI. In 2015, there were 17 criminal homicides and in 2014, there were 10.
The largest fluctuation in criminal homicides in the past 22 years took place from 1997, in which there were four criminal homicides, to 1998, in which there were 10. That number dropped back down to two in 1999.
The FBI online crime data only goes back to 1995.
The Killeen homicide cases this year are:
• Eric Dieter Hill, 34, was shot dead Jan. 11 and found in the driveway of a home on Taree Loop. No arrests have been made in the case.
• Less than a week later, on Jan. 16, Harry “Butch” Polite was shot and killed on Brownsville Drive at 6:18 p.m. There have been no arrests made in the case.
• Quinton Rashard Hill, 23, was shot and killed at 12:04 a.m. Feb. 21 in the 600 block of West Hallmark Avenue, outside the Bridgewater Apartments. There have been no arrests made in the case.
• William Petty, a security guard working at a Subway restaurant on Farm-to-Market 440, was shot and killed during a robbery attempt at 3:40 a.m. Feb. 26. One arrest was made but the woman was released after 48 hours without being charged.
• On Feb. 24, Justice of the Peace David Barfield pronounced 3-month-old James Kadetz dead at 3:35 p.m. at McLane Children’s Hospital in Temple. Zachary Kadetz, a Fort Hood soldier, was charged with intentionally injuring his son. Kadetz was in the Bell County Jail on $1 million bond. He is now out of jail.
• Joseph C. Colon, 13, was shot and killed in a home on Green Avenue on March 24. The incident is still under investigation, but police have not called it a criminal homicide.
• Daniel Scott Daulton, 23, was stabbed and killed during an argument with his father, Danny Lee Daulton, at their mobile home on East Rancier Avenue. Danny Lee Daulton was indicted on a murder charge by a Bell County grand jury April 26. He is currently in Bell County Jail.
• Rocky Wayne Marsh, a 38-year-old who was once a cook at Outback Steakhouse, was beaten to death and robbed in the 1200 block of Bundrant Drive on March 7. James Pinkard, 21; Shamar Lamar Lewis, 17; and Erica Brownlee, 18; were arrested in connection with the death.
• On April 17, Justin Lewis was found in an empty lot on West Avenue C with a gunshot wound. Lewis, a Fort Hood soldier, was pronounced dead at 12:34 a.m.
• Travis James Granger, 29, was shot and killed May 9 behind the 7-Eleven in the 1200 block of South Fort Hood Street. Bell County Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke later arraigned Keith Louis Marinnie Jr., 27, on a murder charge in connection with the shooting and assigned a $1 million bond.
• John Seth Jr., 80, was shot and killed May 30. His neighbor, Santiago Vasquez, was arrested and charged with murder.
• Daniel Magee, 29, was shot and killed the morning of July 15 in the 2300 block of Wales Circle. There have been no arrests in the case.
• Raven Seymen Fisher, 23, was shot and killed after an altercation in which police said she pulled a gun on a man July 25. This is not being investigated as a murder.
• Brandi Jo Cadena, 28, was found dead with a gunshot wound in her home Aug. 19.
• Glenroy Joseph Smith, 34, was shot and killed in an early morning drive-by shooting in the 5300 block of Allegany Drive in west Killeen on Aug. 25.
• Taron Marquise Tillman-Ratliff, 20, was shot and killed on Cantabrian Drive on Sept. 11 at 10:40 p.m.
• Pierre Andre Keupp, of Killeen, 27, was shot and killed about 3:30 a.m. Sept. 19 in the 2800 block of Montague County Drive.
• Stephen M. Rowe, 39, of California, was found Sept. 28 by a mail carrier in the road with a gunshot wound in the 700 block of Reese Creek Road.
• Curtis Shelley, 27, was killed Nov. 12 in the 1000 block of Cedar Drive. The shooter was a neighbor whom he had an ongoing dispute with, police said, and the relative of a Killeen Police Department employee.
• Samaka Powell, 27, was shot and killed by her husband Raymond Davis, 31, at the Valero gas station she worked at on Stan Schlueter Loop on Nov. 25. Davis turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.
• Bernard Trumarde Winston-Haynes, 34, and Courtney Jamal Nelson, 34, both died after an incident in the Lone Star Inn and Suites on South Second Street. Both died from gunshot wounds from each other.