COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - After Thanksgiving Day, Columbus homicide rates are officially tied with that of 2018.
Last year, there were a total of 34 homicides and a Thanksgiving murder brings 2019′s total to the same number.
54-year-old Grady Williams lay dead outside Andrews Court Apartments in the parking lot of his Cusseta Road apartment building from a single gunshot wound.
“He had a plate full of Thanksgiving dinner, got out of his car, and he was shot at his apartment,” said Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan.
Williams’ death brings the total number of Columbus homicides to 34 for 2019.
“Number 34 for the year, [the] same number we had last year," Bryan said. "We still have December to go and we usually average three a month, so who knows what will happen.”
Bryan said homicide rates are trending up. He reports 26 when he was first elected in 2012, then 43 in 2017, 34 in 2018, and now 34 in 2019 with more than a month left in the year.
“But it’s something the Columbus Police Department can’t control," Bryan said. "[They] can’t be everywhere all the time.”
Bryan said during the holiday season, he and his deputy coroners expect these calls, unfortunately.
“Holidays, folks get together, start drinking, then they get to fighting and arguing," Bryan said. "Somebody gets mad then it’s over with. Christmas is why I expect to have a couple more this year.”
But there is one thing the coroner is asking from the community at home.
“I want the citizens of Columbus to certainly keep the family in their prayers, and think about them and what they’re going through and how many families it’s affected,” Bryan said.
Columbus police are actively investigating Williams’ murder. If you know anything about what Williams was doing the day of his death, you are asked to call the Columbus Police Department Homicide Unit at 706-653-3400.
Bryan said Williams’ body is already in Decatur for an autopsy.