Fifteen-year-old pair sisters were killed and their older brothers was hurt in a residential violence strike in Lemon Grove top top April 14, 2020.

Union-Tribune testimonial of local data shows guns used in around two the every three homicide critical year

SAN DIEGO—Investigators still don’t know who eliminated Arthur Langley. The 62-year-old san Diego guy was discovered shortly before midnight critical June, in his car, in the middle of 45th Street near a Southcrest park. He’d been shot.

Four hours later, police knocked top top his sister’s door.

“Totally devastating,” catalent Medina said. “I simply don’t know who did it — or why.”

Langley’s unsolved shooting taken place in a year in which — if COVID kept human being indoors and also under tremendous tension — homicides in san Diego county jumped by 35 percent.

Two years ago, 85 human being died by homicide in the region, follow to the Union-Tribune’s evaluation of data accumulated from local regulation enforcement agencies. Last year, there to be 115 report homicides.

Homicides more than tripled in Chula Vista, climbing from three killings to 10. Nationwide City go from no homicides come four. The city of mountain Diego, through 56 reported homicides last year, had a more than 10 percent hike.

The Union-Tribune gathers data ~ above homicides in the an ar each year, a review that shows feasible trends also a feeling of that the victim were and also how they died.

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Homicides in mountain Diego County

View all homicides in san Diego County since 2010

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In mountain Diego County last year, firearms were far and also away the weapon most regularly used in killings, associated in virtually three that every five slayings. In the city of mountain Diego, two of every three killings connected a gun.


San Diego police say they are finding far more guns, consisting of in the hands of felons, and more untraceable “ghost guns,” which space assembled from parts that sometimes come in prepackaged kits. Castle are frequently unregistered and untraceable.

Last year, san Diego, prefer the remainder of the country, wrestled with increasing gun violence. Strikes involving firearms were up, and an ext people room calling 911 to report listening gunfire. And twice last year, advises from ShotSpotter, a network the audio sensors claimed to recognize gunfire, led san Diego police to uncover the scenes of fatal shootings that no one had referred to as to report.

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Gun deaths have accounted for 55 come 57 percent of the ar killings each year because 2018. The year prior to that, half the homicides involved guns. In 2016, it was 40 percent.

Recent increase in numbers

San Diego, the eighth biggest city in the joined States, is no alone in the spike in killings. Nationwide, several large cities saw substantial jumps in homicides native 2019 come 2020 — Chicago vaulted native 495 to 769, Houston increased from 288 to 403, and Los Angeles went from 258 to 350.


Looking specifically at homicides, san Diego is the safest of the 10 many populous American cities, through a proportion of 3.9 homicides per 100,000 residents. (Two years ago, it to be 2.5 per 100,000.)

San Antonio, with about 100,000 an ext residents than mountain Diego, had actually a proportion of 8.3, with 128 slayings designated together homicides last year to san Diego’s 56. Dallas, v a slightly smaller sized population, had actually 251 homicides. The ratio was 18.7 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Despite the recent uptick, violent crime generally has to be trending bottom nationally and locally because that decades. Thirty years ago, san Diego county peaked at a document 278 homicides, and also the city tallied 167.

In 2010, the city of san Diego dipped come 29 homicides — a low not seen because 1968. The following years carried fluctuations, however San Diego logged 34 homicides in 2017, and 35 the complying with year.

The city recorded 50 homicides in 2019. Ten that those deaths happened in just three incidents.


Among them: a heaven Hills mother and also her 4 young sons, every shot to death by the boys’ father, that then turned the pistol on himself. There was a Logan Heights home fire that killed a couple and among their daughters — a fire that one of the couple’s sons is accused of purposely starting. And also a Torrey Highlands couple was shot and also killed by their son, that jumped come his fatality from college City freeway overpass.

Last year, the city of san Diego had actually only one incident with multiple fatalities — a dual homicide, the shoot deaths of the mother and also grandmother that an child boy. That method 51 separate incidents of killings in 2020.

Data gathered by The mountain Diego Union-Tribune includes incidents that happened in front years yet were no designated together homicides till later. Critical year, four San Diego police cases fell into that category, including three the were relatively recent. The 4th was the April fatality of a mountain Diego police officer that was ~ above the job as soon as he to be shot and also paralyzed in 2003.

The ‘why’ remains elusive

Police can’t say why the numbers space up.

“I don’t recognize that I have actually a reason,” Chula Vista police Capt. Eric Thunberg said. “I think we have to consider that COVID play a role, because homicides and violent crime went increase everywhere.”

“A lot of this will have to be learned by researchers after the fact.”

Thunberg claimed he has found that killings are frequently crimes that passion, “spontaneous occasions of emotions the are difficult to predict.”

“Sometimes people don’t think around their actions, they just react,” the said.


Lt. Tom Seiver oversees the homicide unit in ~ the ar Sheriff’s Department, and he claimed homicide is unique and often personal. There are usually “varied reasons and motivations in any type of crime.” It’s challenging to pinpoint one, he said.

The Sheriff’s room is contracted to handle law enforcement in number of cities from Vista come Santee to imperial Beach as well as in unincorporated areas. The number of homicides it investigated rose from 18 come 25 — a nearly 39 percent increase.

Fatal stabbings accounting for virtually a 4 minutes 1 of the killings last year. Blunt force — generally, beating a person to fatality — happened around 8 percent the the time. Two civilization were strangled.

There to be five-murder-suicides in the county critical year, follow to data noted by law enforcement agencies. In 2019, there to be 11.


In 4 out of every five killings in the an ar last year, the victim was a man. Six of ten victim were black or Latino. Much more than two-thirds the the time, the victim was between the ages of 18 come 39.


A 4 minutes 1 of the killings throughout the county critical year space unsolved, yet that doesn’t mean investigators don’t have a suspect. Lock just can not have sufficient to make an arrest.

Sometimes, police i will not ~ say what may have motivated a killing. Occasionally they to speak they nothing know.

San Diego observed a run in corridor killings in recent years. A couple of years ago, the variety of suspected gang-related deaths in the city to be two. Critical year, it was 11. The year prior to that, it to be 12. That’s approximately 20 percent the the city’s killings.

A focus on stopping gun violence

Earlier this year, the city presented a pilot routine to quell rising gang violence. Dubbed “No Shots Fired,” the calls for outreach and wraparound support services for gang members. It starts with gaining gang members to agree come a cease-fire period, developing accountability and deploying solutions they can need. The emphasis is on stopping gun violence.

“We are in a state that emergency when it comes to gun violence, and we must treat it favor an epidemic,” claimed Bishop Cornelius Bowser, that works on corridor violence prevention and intervention. He said he initiated the routine in mountain Diego.

He spoke of the have to intervene in the hrs after a shooting, and detailed that COVID lockdowns minimal valuable in-person talks — i beg your pardon start once the victim is tho in the hospital — to quash retaliation. In all aspects, that said, COVID-19 play a deleterious role.

“Violence was currently rising, climate the pandemic came and it opened up the top and caused it to escalate,” he said.

Bowser claimed there are lots of weapons on the streets — “You’d be surprised at the amount,” he stated — consisting of ghost guns.

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San Diego police spokesman Shawn Takeuchi stated police investigations into shootings went up at the begin of year, and also calls from human being who reported hearing gunfire jumped 70 percent. In the first two month of 2020, 361 world picked increase the phone call to execute so. Those very same months this year: 617 calls.

The number of felons in san Diego arrested for possessing a guns spiked 75 percent from 2019 to 2020. Under state law, felons are barred from possessing guns and also ammunition.

San Diego police impounded 210 ghost guns last year, close to triple what they discovered the ahead year. And as the the very first week April, mountain Diego police had already seized 111 ghost weapons — more than half of what they gathered all of critical year.

‘My brother didn’t worthy it’

Police space still investigating Langley’s death, and his sister continues to grapple with it. He was the infant of the family, the youngest the 11.

He had actually once been a certified nurse’s assistant, Medina said, and had taken treatment his mom until she died. ~ that, Langley moved in with Medina.

He greatly stayed home, the town hall cowboy movies, she said. And also he loved to fish. ~ above the night the his death, he’d invested time visiting with an additional of his sisters. He never ever made that home.

“He wasn’t the type of human to stroked nerves anybody,” Medina said. “My brother didn’t deserve it.”