LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Gary Braxton, a 65-year-old, is now the eighth person killed in Lynchburg in 2021. He was shot early Sunday morning in the 1800 block of Park Avenue, according to the Lynchburg Police Department.
With that, 2021 is on track to becoming the deadliest year in the Hill City.
“That’s a trend that we absolutely want to see come to a stop,” said Lt. Adam Sexton with the Criminal Investigations Division of the Lynchburg Police Department.
According to data from the department, 2021 is now tied with 2018 as the deadliest year in Lynchburg in more than two decades. Both years have seen eight homicides.
“I’ve been a police officer here for 22 years,” said Sexton, “and it’s kind of sobering when I look at those stats and I see that it’s tied with the highest we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
With five months left in the year, a ninth homicide would break that record.
In this latest homicide from Sunday, Aug. 1, Alfonzo Spinner has been charged with killing Braxton.
“We know that there was a mutual knowledge relationship of each other. We can’t release more right now, but this is not something where they didn’t know each other. They were affiliated with each other. They knew each other,” Sexton said.
Only half of the homicides this year have been solved.
“Right now, we’re still looking at four technically unsolved homicides and we’ve closed four, and that’s where we’re standing right now,” said Sexton. “We still have persons of interest in each homicide that we’d like to talk to and speak with.”
Those unsolved cases include Samantha Robinson, a young mom killed by a stray bullet while driving her car; and Novaa Watson, also known as EJ Boykin, a transgender man shot outside the Family Dollar, about a block away from Sunday’s homicide.
“There’s no names that we can put out right now,” said Sexton, referring to the news that all cases have a person of interest, “but there are people that we want to speak to further.”
For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to WFXR’s breaking news email list