2014 Detroit homicides fewest in 47 years

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — Preliminary statistics suggest the city finished 2014 with the fewest number of criminal homicides in 47 years.

There were 300 slayings in Detroit in 2014, according to numbers released by the Detroit Police Department on Friday. There were 333 homicides in 2013.

Police Chief James Craig told The News on Friday that the police department had updated its statistics after the News reported there were at least 304 slayings in Detroit in 2014 on Thursday. When police released data on Dec. 22, there were 298 reported criminal homicides in the city year-to-date. Since then, at least six more people were killed.

"A few of those had been counted as suicides or justifiable homicides," Craig said Friday. "So we did a final audit and put those in the right category."

Craig said he expects to have a press conference next week on the final crime statistics.

The previous lowest number of homicides in Detroit in any of the past 47 years was in 2010: 308. Before that, the lowest total was 281 in 1967, the year of the Detroit summer riots.

Taking population into consideration, the homicide rate per 100,000 residents is on pace to drop for the third straight year, from 55 in 2012, to 47.5 last year, to 42 in 2014.

"It's good news, but we've still got work to do," Craig said.

The most recent victims of 2014 include:

■A man and woman who were shot and killed Wednesday while they sat in a minivan on the city's east side. According to police, the man, 29, and woman, 24, were inside a 2015 Chrysler Town and Country in the 4100 block of University at about 6:15 p.m. when unidentified suspects pulled up in a white vehicle and opened fire. More than a dozen shots were fired in what police say could have been a robbery.

■ William Fultz, a 49-year-old father of 14, was killed in his home in the 1400 block of Glendale on the city's west side Sunday when two armed men broke into his house at about 4:30 a.m. and shot him. Police say robbery was the motive.

■Christina Samuel, 22, was killed just after midnight Dec. 26, while she sat in a parked car near Eight Mile and Gratiot on the city's east side. Police said two men, one armed with a long gun, the other with a handgun, walked up to the car and fired several shots, killing Samuel and injuring a man who was with her. Police were unsure of the motive.

■A man in his early 50s, Tony Austin, was found dead in a vacant lot Dec. 23 at Liddesdale and Schaefer on the city's southwest side. Police say he was intentionally hit and dragged by a car.

■Grosse Pointe Farms resident Paige Stalker, 16, was among five teens who were in a parked car at Charlevoix and Phillip on the city's east side Dec. 22 when police say a man wearing camouflage pulled up in a tan Cadillac and opened fire on the group. Stalker was killed and three others were injured.

The Detroit Crime Commission and Crime Stoppers of Michigan are offering $112,500 in rewards for information leading to the arrest of the killer.

There were at least two other fatal shootings since police released homicide statistics, but both were thought to be accidental.

Both incidents involved minors, ages 16 and 10, who died while reportedly playing with guns in their homes.


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