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Murders in Richland County are up 39% in 2021: Lott breaks down murder, crime rates

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 11:34 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2022 at 8:48 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott briefed the public on Thursday in regard to 2021 murders in the county.

After a 39% increase in murders from 2020 to 2021 with 32 people killed in 2021, Sheriff Leon Lott’s overall message was more has to be done to stop gun violence.

“These are 32 families who will never be the same. They lost a loved one whose life won’t ever be the same because of gun violence,” Lott said.

Saleemah Graham-Fleming lost her daughter Sanaa Amenhotep to gun violence last year, and after hearing those numbers, she shared her thoughts.

“It is a pandemic in and of itself. No matter where you live,” she said.

Statistics show just how young the victims and suspects are. 18 suspects fall between the ages 16 and 21, 12 victims were between 22 and 30, and five victims were between 16 and 21.

“It’s sad we have people who live and die by the gun. It’s going to get you in the jail or a cemetery,” Lott said.

According to Lott, the total crime rate is down 8.9%, sexual assault is down 9.9%, and robbery is down 15.1%.

“That’s the good news that the community is working with us to solve the murders and investigators are going out and solving the cases,” Lott said.

You can watch the press conference here:

Eight of the murders were drug-related, 12 were domestic, three were robberies turned deadly, seven were retaliations which Lott said were related to disrespect on social media and other things, and two of the shootings were gang-related, according to Lott.

There were 113 shooting incidents that the victim survived in Richland County in 2021 which is up from 88 shootings that happened in 2020, according to Lott.

Lott says deputies are still searching for a suspect in a murder that happened in December.

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