SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Sioux Falls went five months without seeing any homicide cases, but between July 17th and now, there have been five investigations.
That may seem like quite a few, but how does that compare to previous years? And what trends are police seeing with crime in the city?
“It’s like, it’s a little bit worse than losing your best friend, to say the least,” Wesley Adams, Admire’s son, said.
On August 19, gunfire took 36-year-old Paul Billion’s life.
On August 20, 36-year-old Tunis Lomax also was killed by gunfire.
“Everybody that’s been coming over, they always say the same thing. ‘Oh, he’s so good. He’s so nice.’ He’s always ready to help, always,” Cynthia Lomax, Tunis Lomax’s wife, said.
On September 5, 26-year-old Kaisean Tyler was shot multiple times in the back.
And most recently, on September 14th, 26-year-old Brianna Mattix-Hatch was killed in a shooting.
“Any time you have a few homicides in a short time, it seems like there’s a big problem,” Sam Clemens said.
So far, there have just been those five homicide cases this year in the city. Five was the total amount for all of 2021. However, a record was set in 2020 with 13. There were seven in 2019, eight in 2018 and 10 in 2017.
“There’s really no rhyme or reason behind those and you can’t predict when they’re coming or how many there’s going to be,” Clemens said.
Two of the homicide investigations remain open as police continue to search for Paul Billion’s and Tunis Lomax’s killers. Police say these two cases have been harder to solve because there seems to be no witnesses.
“We are appealing to anyone that may have information of this. Lomax is dead, but we don’t know who will be the next victim. Someone else could be the next victim if you don’t come out to say something, that man is still alive,” Charles McGill, an uncles to Lomax’s widow, said.
“Homicide investigations are those types of investigations where really no piece of information is too small,” Clemens said.
Sam Clemens with the Sioux Falls Police Department says it’s hard to tell if there is a threat to the public with these cases still unsolved.
“Anytime somebody is willing to take another’s life, I mean, you don’t know necessarily what they’re capable of. There could be instances where it’s some domestic-type relationship, you could say that that person was targeted, but still, they committed a homicide. So what are they going to do to try to cover up that crime, could there be other people involved. There’s always what if’s that we could play out,” Clemens said.
As for the other three homicide investigations, police have made an arrest in Kaisean Tyler’s case. However, the suspect in both Charice Admire’s case is currently in the hospital and haven’t been charged.
The suspect in Brianna Mattix-Hatch’s case, Arthur Miguel, passed away Sioux Falls’ police confirmed Monday.
“Any time we have a homicide, it’s a high priority. I mean, we have detectives that are pushing other work aside and they all come together as a unit and focus on solving these homicides,” Clemens said.
Four out of the five homicides were due to gun violence.
“The one gunshot and that’s, and I asked my son, I said, did you hear that? and he said yeah, and I didn’t think to call anybody ’cause we get gunshots so often here,” Lela Tibbetts, Paul Billion’s neighbor, said.
Clemens says the Sioux Falls Police Department has been receiving gun calls at rates they haven’t seen before.
“We’ve seen, in the last couple of years, innocent people that have been shot. We had a homicide where the victim had absolutely no connection to anything and he was literally an innocent bystander. Had nothing to do with anything and just happened to be in the wrong place. Those are the types of things that are troubling,” Clemens said.
A worrying thought for the future.
“I think if this gun violence continues, there’s a good chance that other innocent people could be harmed. That may be intentional, that may be unintentional, but the fact is when people pull out a gun and start firing it, you don’t know where those bullets are going to go,” Clemens said.
And that could lead to even more grieving families.
“Yes I want justice, yes I want answers. I don’t think the answers will ever really truly satisfy me but I do want them. I’m really just hoping that, you know, the justice system does it’s part in all of this,” Adams said.