Of the 186 homicides in Montgomery County since the start of 2013, 80 percent (or 149) have involved guns, according to statistics provided by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
The statistics also show 69 percent (or 129) of the homicide victims were black, compared to 27 percent (or 50), who were white.
Those percentages are both higher than the FBI’s most recent Uniform Crime Report of 2014, which states 67.9 percent of homicides nationally involved firearms and 51.6 percent of victims were black.
The coroner’s office stats show homicides from Jan. 1, 2013, until Aug. 16, 2016 including those that are “justifiable” — such as citizens killing intruders or cleared officer-involved shootings.
Dayton Unit NAACP President Derrick Foward said he is always contacted when a police officer shoots an African-American, but that gun violence is a scourge within the black community. The 2016 stats show 37 of the county’s homicides involved firearms.
“We’re going to continue to hold police officers accountable for their actions, but we’re also going to hold our own community accountable for their actions,” Foward said. “The loss of life between African-Americans and other ethnic communities or other races is at a more alarming race than all other races within our county.”
Dayton has had the most homicides in Montgomery County since 2013 with 123, with Trotwood next at 16 and Harrison Twp. after that with 15.
Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl said that while violent gun crime with injury has trended down the past few years, the city’s 26 homicides so far in 2016 show a spike from a stretch of four years with fewer than 30.
“It is absolutely tragic that there has been this increase in homicides this year,” Biehl said.”Our mission is to reduce homicides to the absolute lowest level and certainly seeing an increase like this is disheartening, and knowing the significant, permanent impact it has on family and loved ones, so it’s very discouraging.”
Foward said that dozens of black families in Dayton from Jan. 1, 2016 through July have included either a homicide victim or perpetrator.
“There were actually 32 African-American families devastated and homes wrecked due to senseless gun violence,” Foward said. “Kids are impacted, spouses and/or significant others are impacted. Moms and dads, grandparents are impacted. Aunts and uncles are impacted.
“Going and putting up teddy bears on the side of the corner is not worth someone’s life. A little money is not worth someone’s life.”
Teresa Binegar’s 36-year-old son Michael, who is white, was shot and killed Aug. 12 in Harrison Twp. Binegar took issue with Foward’s earlier comments that he was sick of going to funerals for “my people” executing each other.
“I consider black African-Americans to be my brothers and sisters, too, so how’s it his people when we’re all bleeding the same color?” she said. “It happens to white people, too.”
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deputies have not made any arrests. Even so, Binegar said she has forgiven the shooter.
“It took a real coward to shoot my son in the back,” Binegar said. “But I forgive that person and I pray for that person. That’s the kind of Christian I am.”
She said she knows her son “was where he shouldn’t have been” and that “he was doing the wrong kind of lifestyle, too.”
Foward said he invites people to attend the NAACP monthly meetings and appeals to those who are committing gun violence.
“I know that you’ve got a heart. I know that you have a soul. I know you have a conscience and you know the difference between right and wrong,” Foward said. “We want you to do the right thing and leave the wrong thing alone.”
Biehl said that while the homicides in Dayton this year haven’t been random: “I’m hoping for a better rest of the year.”
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