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Homicides on the rise in Wichita Falls

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 7:35 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Homicides have been on the rise in Wichita Falls. Compared to homicide rates for the past decade, the years 2020 and 2021 had the highest numbers for the city.

“There are so many things that are involved in times when people choose to take someone else’s life,” said Wichita Falls Police Department Sgt. Charlie Eipper.

Homicide rates for the city of Wichita Falls landed in the double digits for the last two years, the highest they’ve ever been in a decade. Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie said it’s not uncommon to see numbers rise back to back.

“Homicides have usually gone in waves and have some then you have a period where it’s quiet and then you have some more,” said Gillespie. “When you look at those years, 2020 and 2021 what would be a reasonable assumption is what’s going on during that time.”

The Wichita Falls Police Department released its homicide numbers. In 2020, there were 10 homicides and in 2021 there were 14. Eipper said there could be substances involved when these crimes are committed.

“It’s alcohol or drug use or what’s going on in the family, their experiences and how they were raised, and so forth,” said Eipper.

Gillespie explained how the pandemic possibly played a role.

“The shutdowns in 2020 and we have still a lot of the stress that comes out of that, so we know that there’s some interplay between that,” said Gillespie.

Gillespie said prior to the pandemic, anyone who was suspected of a homicide could wait a year to 18 months to get a trial. As of late, trials could take up to two years.

“In a homicide case, all of the evidence is going to be subject to DNA testing,” said Gillespie. “We were backlogged even before the pandemic and that adds six months to a year to just waiting for the test results to come back.”

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