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Homicide rate doubled so far in city

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By PHILIP SAYBLACK and LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writers

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Rocky Mount has been hit by eight homicides so far this year — double the number recorded in all of 2016.

Homicides were not addressed in a recent news release issued by Rocky Mount Police Chief James Moore stating that violent crime was down in the city. The report has been called into question by law enforcement officials, including members of Moore's own department.

All eight deaths were the result of gunfire. The first reported homicide in Rocky Mount in 2017 occurred Feb. 5 on Arlington Street. Pinetops resident Orlando Flowers was killed. No arrests have been made in the case.

The year's second homicide happened March 11 on Short Street, a few blocks from Arlington Street. Alcindor Marcellais Wardrick Jr. died in that shooting. No arrests have been made in the case.

Traveon Sessoms-Bullock was gunned down days later on March 21. Former Rocky Mount police officer Leo Kearney was arrested in the case along with Dexter Williams Jr., with grand jury hearings scheduled in the case. Kearney is awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge. The incident report lists the arrest as an aggravated assault.

Timothy Arrington was shot to death on April 30 on St. Paul Street. His death is another unsolved homicide.

Things quieted down in May, but picked back up in June with the death of Steven Maurice Lloyd on June 17 on North Wesleyan Boulevard. Five people were arrested in connection with Lloyd's death.

Raymond Deonta Lee died July 4 after being shot at an apartment on Niblick Drive. Jamonte Zakell Epps was charged with first-degree murder in the case after surrendering to authorities.

Javius Delshaun Murphy became the seventh homicide victim on July 12 when he was found shot on Colby Court. He died from his wounds at a nearby hospital. Nashville resident Barwon Farmer was arrested in connection with Murphy's death.

Murphy's death was followed only a week later by the shooting death of Malik Nikee Thomas on July 21 on Rosewood Avenue. Thomas died from his wounds at a nearby hospital. Tracy Lorenzo Askew Jr. was charged in Thomas’ death.

Anyone with information in any of the cases is asked to contact the Rocky Mount Police Department at 252-972-1450. To leave an anonymous tip, call Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111 or email crimestoppers@rockymountnc.gov. Text a tip to police at 274637 by beginning messages with RMPOL to direct the tip to the Rocky Mount Police Department and type up to 155 characters with about the case.

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