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Longview homicide tally falls for first time since 2014

Megan Hix

By Megan Hix
Jan. 2, 2018 at 1:02 a.m.

Police investigate Tuesday morning after a 61-year-old man was found with multiple gunshots Monday night in Longview in the 1100 block of Bertha Street. He later died.

After hitting highs not seen in at least a decade the previous two years, Longview's homicide count in 2017 fell for the first time since 2014.

The city recorded 10 homicides in 2017. The last — a Dec. 23 armed robbery attempt that left one person dead — might not result in charges because of circumstances surrounding the shooting. It is being investigated as a homicide and will be presented to a grand jury to determine further action.

That tally was down from 15 homicides investigated in both 2015 and 2016, prompting marches and vigils for peace and a stronger police presence in the hardest-hit neighborhoods.

Five homicides were recorded in 2014 and eight in 2013.

Longview police spokeswoman Kristie Brian said the department has stepped up patrols in "problem areas" in town, an effort that will continue into the new year. She said the presence and trust officers have developed in those neighborhoods helps prevent homicides and other crimes. It also helps in investigating crimes of all sorts.

"We've encouraged officers to get out of their cars and be more visible in some of the higher crime areas," she said. "We've encouraged officers to interact with the community and build those relationships."

Arrests have been made in five of 2017's 10 cases, while investigations also have produced arrests in about half of 2016's homicides.

Brian said homicide cases can become harder to solve as time goes on, but the department remains hopeful officers eventually will crack each one.

"People move, witnesses' memories fade, but someone always knows," she said. "And through the relationships we've built and will continue to build, we hope to be able to solve some of those older homicides."

Asking residents to be aware of what happens in their neighborhoods is a key strategy to reducing homicides in the future. Brian said people should "call in when they see things going on and not wait until later."

"We appreciate the community and their willingness to work with us in solving some of these homicides."

Longview had the highest number of homicides in the area from 2011 to 2016.

Homicide cases recorded in 2017 were:

  • Jalen Johnson, 24, of Port Arthur died Dec. 23 during an attempted robbery when a resident of the home shot him. Though the death is being investigated as a homicide, no arrests have been made and a grand jury could decline to issue indictments.

  • Sandy Brown Jr., 26, of Longview was killed Nov. 1 after a shooting near the 2200 block of 13th Street. Adrian Cain, who received injuries that were not life-threatening in the incident, was named by police in court documents as a suspect, though he has not been charged.

  • Arthur Gray, 47, was found shot to death Oct. 21 in a home in the 1500 block of Oden Street. Lloyd Johnson Jr., 32, who lives at the residence, was hospitalized with a gunshot wound that was not life-threatening. Upon his release from the hospital, he was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and remains in jail under $100,000 bond. He has not been arrested in connection with Gray's death.

  • Lonnie Halton, 61, was found shot multiple times Oct. 17 inside his home on Bertha Street and later died.

  • Nicholas Trevion Johnson, 22, was found shot to death Oct. 15 in a home on Annette Drive. Police arrested Cody Dewayne Fortman, 21, of Longview a day later in connection with the death. He is scheduled to be arraigned by a judge Friday. His bond is set at $100,000.

  • Cameron Taye Brooks, 19, of Tyler, a student at Tyler Junior College, was found shortly after 1 a.m. Sept. 21 in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 5500 block of West Loop 281 after neighbors reported hearing gunshots. Dominique Shaquille Harvey, 22, of Longview was charged hours later with murder in connection with Brooks' death. Harvey, who is being held in jail on $500,000 bond, is scheduled for arraignment Friday.

  • Thomas Lynn Harper, 34, of Gladewater was found Feb. 4 shot to death outside J's Place on East Marshall Avenue. Kyron Dylann Adams, 38, of Longview was charged with murder and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the case and remains in the Gregg County Jail under $600,000 bond. Adams' trial has been delayed, with a status docket hearing scheduled Friday.

  • Donald Ray Kenney, 34, of Lakeport was shot Feb. 5 near 12th and Dean streets. His body was dumped in the 5500 block of West Loop 281. Mon'torio Dewayne Harris, 25, of Longview was charged with murder in connection with the case and remains in the Gregg County Jail under $200,000 bond, with a status hearing set in February.

  • Ivory Neil Wilson, 57, of Longview was found dead Feb. 12 inside her home at the Tree House Apartments. Darrell Wayne Wilson, 58, of Marshall was charged with murder in connection and remains in the Gregg County Jail under $250,000 bond, with a status docket hearing scheduled Friday.

  • Ricky Nelson Miles Jr., 33, of Longview, was found dead Feb. 15 of a gunshot wound in a vacant parking lot in the 1500 block of South 12th Street. No arrest has been made.

Anyone with information about any homicide is asked to contact the Longview Police Department at (903) 237-1170 or Gregg County Crime Stoppers at (903) 236-7867.

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