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By Mike Hazlip—
With violent crime and homicides on the rise across the country, Citrus Heights is no exception.
A May 30 report by The Sentinel tracked eight shootings for 2021 and several more shootings have made headlines in the months since. The Sentinel reached out to Citrus Heights Police Lt. Michael Wells for an update to the year’s total.
Wells outlined seven additional firearms incidents since the May story, bringing the total to 15 incidents, not including one additional incident that was deemed an accidental discharge by police. Three of the shootings have been fatal.
Of the additional incidents police have responded to since May, three are believed to be related to road rage or driving, and did not result in any known injuries. Wells said the trio of incidents involved “firing from a vehicle into the air or at an unoccupied vehicle,” with the incidents not believed to be related.
Two incidents were related to domestic or mental health crises. In both cases, police were able to de-escalate the situation and take the suspect into custody without anyone being injured, according to Wells.
The most recent incident occurred on Sept. 29 on the 7000 block of Glass Slipper Way, where Wells said a reportedly suicidal man “fired a round inside his home while an elderly family member was inside.” Wells said SWAT and a Crisis Negotiation Team responded and were able to take the man into custody.
The latest information from police includes two fatal shootings. A subject was shot on Sept. 25 while in a vehicle at the Montage Apartments, according to Wells. That individual died in the vehicle a few blocks away, according to a previous report by The Sentinel.
Prior to that incident, a man was shot and killed Aug. 26 on Carmelwood Drive. Wells said the incident involved two individuals with firearms. Police believe both parties knew each other.
“The majority of these incidents were isolated and the involved parties were known to one another,” Wells said. “We take any incidents involving gun violence extremely seriously and are hearts got out to the families and victims of these crimes.”
Records indicate shootings in Citrus Heights more than doubled compared to last year, with police data showing only four firearms incidents through May 23 last year, with only one of those deemed intentional. A total of two homicides were reported in 2020, as well as in 2019, compared with three so far this year.
Most recent national comparison data available shows a record spike in murder nationwide for 2020, according to a September report by The New York Times. The national murder rate rose almost 30 percent, according to the report, the largest increase since the 1960s when record keeping began.
Crime data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows the homicide rate in California rose from 4.3 per 100,000 people in 2019 to 5.6 per 100,000 people in 2020. Nationally, that number rose to an average of 6.5 per 100,000 people, according to FBI data.
The FBI uses crime data voluntarily reported by police departments across the country. Almost 16,000 law enforcement agencies submitted data to the FBI, according to the agency.
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