Democratically-run cities who do nothing for their citizens.
Daikel Lamont Fletcher was the first to be slain in St. Louis this year, his body found in a backyard in the Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood, his car stolen.
Fletcher was gunned down on the fourth day of the new year. Nearly 12 months later, three women trying to escape attackers in a home invasion were shot dead in a car early Friday.
That triple murder pushed the annual homicide count to 203, the most the city has seen in a single year since 1995, when there were 204 victims. (The city’s population in 1995 was about 50,000 more than what it is today.)
“Society is changing,” St. Louis Police Lt. John Green, who runs the homicide division, said at a press conference. “The value of life is not there anymore. They don’t care.”
Green and Acting Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole repeated pleas to the public for assistance solving the cases.
“Any small thing can help,” Green said.
The total excludes homicides ruled justified, such as cases of self-defense, and fatal police shootings. The unfortunate milestone for homicides comes as St. Louis is trying to hire a new police chief from among three internal and three external candidates.
Statistics compiled by the St. Louis Police Department provide a look at who the victims are and what homicide detectives are up against.
The deaths of the three women Friday morning bring to 27 the number of female homicide victims in St. Louis this year. But mostly, the victims are black men, the motives unknown, and the murders unsolved.
For the cases in which the motive is known, about 30 involve an argument; about a dozen involve robbery; and fewer than 10 victims each were thought to be victims of drug-related or retaliatory killings.
Most of the victims were in their 20s, though eight were 16 or younger and four were 60 or older. Nearly all, 165, were black males. The remaining victims were: 25 black females, 10 white males, two white females and one Hispanic male. And nearly all died in shootings.
And just as in Fletcher’s case, most of the murders remain unsolved. Fletcher’s case is, in many respects, representative of the kind of homicides police in St. Louis are struggling to solve in 2017.