On Friday, it was announced that former Vicksburg Police Lieutenant Troy Kimble would be returning to the department as a Deputy Chief tasked with Homicide Investigation and Gang Related Activities.
Prior to his departure from the department in 2017, Kimble was the number two person in the Criminal Investigation Division of the department and could point to a high clearance rate for these often complex cases. The department at that time could emphatically state that they had a 100 percent solved homicide rate.
According to FBI crime statistics, in 2017, the city had five homicides. In 2018, the city reported seven homicides with one unsolved. Moving into 2019, there were just three homicides within the city limits with arrests in each case.
However, in 2020, the area saw numbers jump to 11 homicides within the city limits. On the heels of this violent activity, the Mayor and Aldermen voted to raise CrimeStopper Reward payments to $2,500 in hopes that the additional money would encourage more people to provide information.
Some of the cases that Kimble will inherit include:
- The death of Brandin Lane. Lane, 29, was found shot in the abdomen in the yard of a Bazinsky Road home on February 22 of 2020. He was subsequently pronounced deceased at Meritt Health River Region.
- DeMarcus Preacely, 32, was found suffering from multiple gun shot wounds on May 12 as officers responded to the 1600 block of South Street in reference to shots fired calls. He died moments later at the scene.
- Karl Singleton, 20, died on October 19 after being shot in the yard of his mother’s home in the 100 block of Enchanted Drive. He was transported to Meritt Health and later pronounced deceased by Deputy Coroner Kelda Bailess.
- On Thanksgiving night, November 26, Joshua Coffee was shot during an incident in the 1200 block of Harrison Street along with two other victims. He was pronounced deceased at Merit Health. Numerous weapons and shell casings were recovered at the crime scene.
Working cold cases is a daunting task for even the most experienced of investigators. Kimble inherits a proverbial “full plate” from the onset.
It remains to be seen what other resources will be made available in an effort to curb criminal activity in the River City. The Mayor’s usage of the Task Force and the NET team has driven down call volumes in certain areas but there remains work to be done.