By Associated Press - Monday, January 2, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah had 87 homicides in 2016, an increase of 19 percent over the 73 reported the previous year and also higher than the 79 homicides in the state during 2014, a newspaper reported Monday.

Eight of last year’s 87 victims were killed by police officers, according to the Deseret News (https://tinyurl.com/h4csl8d ).

That’s down from 10 fatal officer-involved shootings in 2015 and 14 in 2014, according to the newspaper, which maintains an independent annual accounting of the statistics provided by law enforcement agencies across the state.

About 60 percent of last year’s homicide victims in Utah were shot to death and more than one-quarter of the killings were related to domestic violence. Ten involved some kind of robbery and at least two stemmed from road-rage incidents.

The Deseret News reported that it does not typically count automobile homicides, which often stem from drunken drivers, in its statistics.



However, six of the homicides in the count this year were the result of car crashes that ended in murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide charges being filed.

Six cases were part of murder-suicides or attempted murder-suicides, although several of those are still being investigated, the newspaper said.

At least three people’s deaths were connected to gangs and two were accidentally shot to death. Ten of the homicides had obvious connections to drugs and drugs were likely factors in several other cases, the newspaper said.

Nineteen of the 87 homicides in 2016 were reported over the final six weeks of the year, making the period one of the deadliest stretches in the Beehive State in nearly a decade. The 11 in the month of December tied July for the most in a single month.

According to statistics kept by the state Bureau of Criminal Identification, the last time Utah detectives investigated more than 10 homicides in a single month was October 2007.

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Information from: Deseret News, https://www.deseretnews.com

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