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Columbus police reporting more homicide suspects are teens

In 2021, there were 10 homicide suspects under the age of 18. So far in 2022, that number has increased to 15.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Monday morning the Columbus Division of Police announced they are searching for a teenager accused of killing a 21-year-old last week.

A murder warrant was issued for 17-year-old Jaizion Reid in the fatal shooting of LaVarr Madison on South Ashburton Road.

Columbus Police Major Crimes Commander Dennis Jeffrey said it’s a disturbing trend regarding the number of teens wanted for homicide.

Sirley Leak’s grandson, 24-year-old Neal Smith, was shot and killed in June. Police have arrested three people for his death including a 16- and 17-year-old.

“I really want the boys who did this as an example. I know there are so many young people out there. This needs to be a lesson,” Leaks said in a July interview.

CrimeTracker 10 detailed the story of Nelson Conley in May. Obetz police said the teen led them on a pursuit in a stolen vehicle.

In July, police said he was shot and killed by 16-year-old Keith Waddell.

“We've seen a couple instances, and I think you've reported on it where both the victims and suspects are what they call Kia Boys or are involved in a stolen car situation,” Jeffrey said.

In 2021, there were 10 homicide suspects under the age of 18, which made up 9%. So far in 2022, that number has increased to 15 suspects, just over 14%.

“What we've seen typically is folks will start with a lower level crime, property crime and then they usually get to your next level of violent crime,” Jeffrey explained.

When asked about the increase of juveniles involved in homicides, Jeffrey said it’s hard to say scientifically.

“I think when students aren't in school, there isn't structure. What are they going to do?” he said.

Leaks hopes something is done to send a message to the kids before another family loses a loved one.

“I just pray that this doesn't happen to anyone else because it hurts deeply,” she said.

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