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JCPD dedicating more officers to solve recent homicides

The Jefferson City Police Department is reassigning officers from patrol and shifting their focus strictly to solving recent homicides in Jefferson City.

“It’s not that they have been taken off patrol, because they are still patrolling, they are just patrolling specific areas based on possible information from investigators,” JCPD Lt. David Williams said

The department has responded to seven homicides in Jefferson City this year. Three of those killings happened in the last two months.

There were four homicides in Jefferson City in 2016 and 2017, two in 2015, one in 2014 and none in 2013, according to crime statistics reported to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

“We have definitely increased patrol, to where we are trying to concentrate on particular areas of town, looking for leads and trying to follow up on those leads,” Williams said.

Some patrol units were reassigned to specialty units in order to help the investigators.

“It could be something as looking for a particular vehicle, at this point we are trying as hard as we can to solve the two homicides from last week,” Williams said.

Williams said two homicides last week came as a shock for the department.

“We don’t go out thinking we are going to have a homicide today, or have two this week, that is definitely a situation where we were not expecting it,” Williams said. “We would like to go the entire year without any homicides, realistically understanding there are some things we can control and some things that we cannot.”

Williams said the department needs help from the community to help solve the crimes.

Police said Thursday evening that Bruce Thomas, 15, of Jefferson City, was arrested and charged in connection with a November shooting along with 20-year-old Semaj Harris. Court documents say Nilez Nichols, 19, of Jefferson City, was shot and killed on Stadium Boulevard during a drug deal. Police say the investigation is still open.

Police said in a statement Thursday morning that two men had been shot Wednesday evening. One was killed, the other is in critical condition. A 16-year-old boy is in the custody of juvenile authorities in connection with that shooting. A hearing to certify him as an adult has not been scheduled, Cole County juvenile court administrator Michael Couty said.

D’Angelo Bratton-Bland, 23, was found by officers on Dawson Street late Dec. 10 with gunshot wounds and taken to a hospital. He died from his injuries at University Hospital in Columbia. Students held a vigil for Bratton-Bland, who served as the SGA President at Lincoln University, on Wednesday.

Officers found the body of 4-year-old Darnell Gray after a days long search in October. His caretaker at the time, Quatavia Givens, is charged with child abuse resulting in death.

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