Clayton County homicides up 40% in 2021 compared to last year



Homicides in Clayton County went up 40% in 2021 compared to the same period last year, newly released statistics from the Clayton County Police Department show.

At least 52 people died from homicide this year as of Wednesday afternoon — a new one-year record, Clayton County Police Chief Kevin Roberts said.

Last year 37 people died from homicide.

Most of those killed this year were the result of a domestic dispute or an argument between people who knew each other, Roberts said.

“Sixty-two percent of our homicides have a domestic relationship attached to them, either friendship or acquaintances, things of that nature,” he said. “Persons who are known to each other are involved in the majority of the homicides that we had this year.”

Clayton County’s homicide milestone comes as 2021 was either the deadliest year on record or one of the deadliest for many cities across the nation, including Philadelphia, Kansas City, Oakland, Austin, Louisville, and Albuquerque, N.M.

Atlanta is also grappling with another deadly year. Atlanta police have investigated 156 homicides in 2021, a department spokesman said Wednesday, one killing fewer than last year’s total.

Aggravated assaults also rose 22% in Clayton County, increasing to 1,291 from 1,056 in 2020. However, there was a 24% decrease in robberies — to 248 from 325 in 2020.

Among those killed in Clayton County was Henry Laxson, a field training officer with the Clayton County Police Department. Laxson was shot while trying to help a victim of a shooting at a home in Rex in late November.

Arthur Allen Gilliam is alleged to have fatally shot Laxson and killed two others at the Rex home before he was shot and killed by Clayton Police.

Other homicides this year include the shooting death of a woman outside a gas station in Riverdale this past Sunday and the death in October of Cameron Bell Palmer after a domestic dispute in Forest Park.

Police said Palmer and Jalessia A. Brown got into a heated argument, which ended when Brown allegedly shot and stabbed Palmer. Brown, who fled the scene, was later charged with felony murder and aggravated assault, Clayton County police said.

Staff writer Shaddi Abusaid contributed to this report.