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2018 ends as violently as it began in Jacksonville

Despite late spike in homicides, city's numbers trend down from 2017

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a bloody start to the year with seven people killed in the first seven days of 2018, the year ended with a similarly violent trend in Jacksonville.

In the final two months of 2018, 22 people were killed, including three shot by Jacksonville police officers.

But overall, Jacksonville ended the year more quietly than in 2017.

Five people were killed in November this year, compared to 13 in 2017. That included one of the longest stretches of the year without a homicide -- 24 days. In December, there were 17 homicides -- two more than the same month last year.

PREVIOUS HOMICIDE LISTS: January | February | March | April, May | June | July | August | September, October

Jacksonville ended the year with 125 homicides, according to News4Jax records. Our numbers are slightly off from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office transparency site. We did not include homicides that occurred before Jan. 1, 2018, even though several are listed in the transparency site because they were ruled homicides this year. 

Our records showed 144 total homicides in 2017. In 2016, we counted 121 homicides. 

Below, we have listed the names and ages of the November and December homicide victims and the information surrounding their deaths. We have included a photo of each victim, when available. Previous mugshots were used only when no other photo was available.

Many of the cases remain unsolved. If you have information about any of these crimes, call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

Tony Smith Jr.Thursday, Nov. 1

Tony Smith Jr., 24

Smith was shot by a Jacksonville police officer during a chase that followed a violent carjacking, the Sheriff's Office said. Smith died at a hospital. A second man was arrested in connection with the carjacking, which was reported at a Lem Turner Road car wash.

Deshawn MinorSunday, Nov. 25

Deshawn Minor, 18

Minor's body was found in a wooded area near the FSCJ South Campus. He'd been shot. Minor's mother filed a missing person's report 10 days before he was found. Police later announced the arrests of Oneil Exantus, 18, and David Marc Robinson, 18, in connection with Minor's murder.

Lamonte DabneySunday, Nov. 25

Lamonte Dabney, 20

Police said Dabney was fatally shot at a park with children playing nearby after getting into an argument with a stranger while walking to the park with his girlfriend and her 6-year-old daughter. Police said they don't believe the shooting was random but did not release a description of the shooter.


Tuesday, Nov. 27

Douglas Sinclair, 55

Police said Sinclair was shot and killed by another man chasing him on Van Buren Street on the Eastside. They did not release a description of the shooter.

Alton ArmstrongFriday, Nov. 30

Alton Armstrong, 40

Armstrong was shot to death in a car at West 1st Street in New Town, police said. It's unclear what led to the shooting and police did not have a description of the shooter.


Levertis FowlerSunday, Dec. 2

Trenton Thomas, 19, and Levertis Fowler, 21

Thomas (not pictured) and Fowler (right) were killed in a double shooting near a park off Moncrief Road in Northwest Jacksonville. On of the men was found dead on a sidewalk and the other was found across the street near Clanzel Brown Park. Teenage boys were seen running from the scene but police had no other description of possible suspects.

Tervaris BrownMonday, Dec. 3

Tervaris Brown, 25

Police said Brown was found shot to death in the Spring Glen neighborhood. He was found in the front yard of a home, where a firearm was recovered. Three people in the home were taken in for questioning. No arrests have been announced.


Corey DonaldWednesday, Dec. 5

Corey Donald, 17

Police said Donald was found shot to death in a car on Trenton Drive in Northwest Jacksonville. Family members said Donald attended Mandarin High School and wanted to become a barber. Investigators have no suspects in the case.

Friday, Dec. 7

Saul Hernandez, 48

Hernandez was found stabbed in a Pine Forest neighborhood home and died at a hospital, police said. Investigators have not released any suspect information and his death is listed as "pending classification."

Jason ConnellWednesday, Dec. 12

Jason Connell, 43

Police said Connell, a convicted felon from Georgia, shot at an officer who returned fire, killing him in the parking lot of a Motel 6 on Dunn Avenue. Investigators said a rookie and his training officer were looking into a car in the parking lot that had been reported stolen, and Connell confronted them. Witnesses said Connell had vowed not to go back to prison.

Dylan ThomasWednesday, Dec. 12

Dylan Parker Thomas, 18

Police said Thomas pointed a revolver replica BB gun at an officer and was fatally wounded when the officer shot him. According to police, Thomas matched the description of a robbery suspect from a nearby incident earlier in the night and when an officer tried to question him, he ran, pointing the gun in the officer's direction. The officer fired two shots and Thomas died in a nearby breezeway.

Friday, Dec. 14

Diego Morales Perez, 16

Morales Perez was fatally wounded in a double shooting at a Baymeadows apartment complex, police said. The second victim had serious injuries. Police did not have a description of the shooter.

Friday, Dec. 14

Duane Lanter, 57

Police said Lanter was shot in the head and died at a hospital. His death was initially not reported as a homicide. Investigators did not release any details about the shooter.

Martin HowerSaturday, Dec. 15

Martin Hower, 55

Hower, a Gate gas station clerk, was shot in a robbery in Arlington and later died. Police later announced the arrest of Jebre Cook, 20, in Hower's murder. They said Cook robbed a second Gate station the day after shooting Hower.

Nekecheana PhillipsFriday, Dec. 21

Nekecheana Phillips, 27

Police said Phillips was killed by her boyfriend who was waiting inside her home and shot her after she ran to a car in the front yard. Eric Jackson, 27, is charged with murder in her death. Phillips had filed an injunction for protection against Jackson the day before she was killed. Phillips' cousin, Victoria Wyche, was killed in Jacksonville days later.


Thomas GordonSaturday, Dec. 22

Thomas Elehue Gordon, 24

Family said Gordon was shot and killed at an apartment complex while walking the puppy he got his 7-year-old son for Christmas. Police did not release any suspect descriptions in the Westside shooting.

John BattenSaturday, Dec. 22

John Batten, 21

Police said Batten was shot by a neighbor after banging on the window of the neighbor's 3-year-old daughter's room. The shooting off Old St. Augustine Road has been ruled justifiable, according to JSO's transparency site. The shooter's name has not been released.


John DawseySunday, Dec. 23

John Dawsey, 34

Police said Dawsey was found shot on a sidewalk on Broadway Avenue in the Woodstock neighborhood and died at a hospital. Witnesses told police several suspects ran from the scene but they did not have a description.

Victoria WycheMonday, Dec. 24

Victoria Wyche, 48

Wyche was fatally shot while sitting on the front porch of a home on North Pearl Street after an argument with a group walking by, police said. Two of Wyche's three children were inside the home at the time, investigators said. Two people sitting with Wyche were also shot but survived. Police did not release a description of the shooters.

Roderick HinesMonday, Dec. 24

Roderick Stephon Hines Jr., 36

Hines was beaten to death Christmas Eve at a coin laundry in a Beach Boulevard strip mall on Jacksonville's Southside. Surveillance video showed a masked man with a pogo stick. Police had no description of the attacker.

Devontay YoumansThursday, Dec. 27

Devontay Youmans, 23

Youmans was found shot several times in a car on Soutel Drive, police said. He died later at a hospital. According to his obituary, he was from South Carolina. Police did not have a description of the shooter.

About the Authors:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.