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After 3 recent slayings, Topeka has recorded 15 homicides so far in 2020

Topeka has recorded 15 homicides so far in 2020, the same as the total for 2019, police officials said.
Topeka has recorded 15 homicides so far in 2020, the same as the total for 2019, police officials said.(Phil Anderson)
Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 1:53 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Three shooting deaths in less than six hours this week has moved Topeka’s 2020 homicide total to 15, the same as the total for all of 2019.

Police officials on Wednesday confirmed the number of homicides this year.

The three most-recent homicides occurred between 8 p.m. Monday and 2 a.m. Tuesday in the capital city.

Here is a listing of the city’s 2020 homicides as of Wednesday afternoon:

Here is a list of Topeka's other homicides in 2020:

• Emerson Downing, 41, of Topeka, died of his injuries after being run over by a car early the afternoon of Feb. 17 in the 1500 block of N.W. Tyler, just west of the Charles Curtis Memorial Park and Cemetery. Chad Thomas Cuevas, 51, was booked into the Shawnee County Jail in connection with first-degree murder.

• Ja’Sean Alston, 19, was found suffering from a gunshot wound early on Feb. 28 in the 1200 block of S.W. Washburn Avenue. Alston died of his injuries. An 18-year-old Topeka man has been arrested and booked on murder and kidnapping charges in connection to Friday’s early morning shooting death. Dmario M. Valdivia, 18, of Topeka, was booked into the Shawnee County Jail in connection with first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery.

• Kelly Parker Sr., 51, died early Feb. 29 after being shot in a home in the 1400 block of S.W. Van Buren. Raishawn Smith-Parker, 47, was booked into the Shawnee County Jail in connection with second-degree Second murder.

• D’Angelo L. Payne, 28, of Topeka, died late April 4 after being shot near S.W. 5th and Western. James. D. Boatwright, 22, was arrested in connection with first-degree murder. Diquan Clayton, 27, also was arrested in connection with first-degree murder in the case.

• Joseph Hill, 26, of Topeka, was shot and killed the evening of April 24 outside a home at 1215 N.E. Quincy. Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay on Tuesday charged Vincent Gonzalez-Rook with first-degree premeditated murder in Hill’s death. Authorities located Gonzalez-Room in California. Michael Flores, 25, was booked into jail June 8 in connection with involuntary manslaughter, and aiding and abetting a battery.

• Mark Edwards, 37, was shot and killed late April 28 in the 1400 block of S.E. Locust, near Freedom Valley Park.

• Several hours after Edwards was found suffering from a fatal gunshot wound, the body of Zennie Vasser Jr, 36, was found around 9:30 a.m. April 29 between houses in the 1300 block of S.E. Locust. Vasser’s body was found about a half-block north of where Edwards had been wounded.

Police officials said the deaths of Edwards and Vasser were believed to have stemmed from the same incident and no suspects were being sought.

• Lisa Hill, 53, was shot and killed the afternoon of May 7 in the 1100 block of N.W. Central Ave. Charles M. Wilson II, 47, was booked into the Shawnee County Jail in connection with first-degree murder.

Hill was the mother of Joseph Hill, the victim of an April 24 homicide in the same area of North Topeka.

• Joheem Meredith, 18, died late Tuesday, May 12, after arriving at a Topeka hospital, where he had been taken by a private vehicle after he was shot. Police believe the shooting occurred in the west parking lot of the White Lakes Plaza Apartments, in the 3700 block of S.W. Plaza Drive. Two men, Tyron R. Michael and Daravian L. Ryce, were charged with first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated vehicle burglary, aggravated assault and criminal possession of a firearm.

• Anterio Deshazer, 31, died of a gunshot wound around 8 p.m. Saturday, June 13, after he was found in a car that crashed near S.E. 21st and Illinois. A woman who was in the car, Neyl A. Beier, 31, of Topeka, was taken into custody, authorities said. However, as of Wednesday, no one has been charged in Deshazer’s death.

• Terry Tignor, 55, died of injuries suffered in a shooting early Saturday, June 20, at a residence in the 1200 block of S.W. Garfield. No arrests have been reported in Tignor’s death.

• Ricardo Junior Rodriguez, 20, died early Monday, June 22, when a stolen sport utility vehicle in which he was a passenger collided with a pickup truck near S.E. 21st and Madison. Police said Rodriguez wasn’t involved in the SUV’s theft. The driver of the SUV, Darren Matthew Johnson, has been charged with first-degree murder or in the alternative second-degree murder; fleeing or attempting to elude; and aggravated robbery.

• Harry T. Jenkins, 66, was shot and killed around 8 p.m. Monday, July 13, at a residence in the 1100 block of S.W. Clay. No arrests have been reported as of Wednesday afternoon.

• Crystal D. Andrews, 37, was found shot to death at 1:51 a.m. Tuesday, July 14, at a house at 512 S.W. 5th. No arrests have been reported as of Wednesday afternoon.

• Mercedes M. Holford, 13, of Topeka, was found shot to death at 1:51 a.m. Tuesday, July 14, at 512 S.W. 5th. Topeka Public Schools officials said Holford had just completed the seventh grade at Robinson Middle School. No arrests had been reported as of Wednesday afternoon.

• Another shooting death that isn’t listed at this time among the other 2020 homicides in Topeka occurred Feb. 5 near S.E. 1st and Madison when a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper fatally wounded a man in an altercation that occurred during a traffic stop. Authorities said the trooper was being dragged by the car he had stopped and fired his weapon at the driver of the car. The driver, identified as Gaston A. Nava-Saucedo, 33, Topeka, was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Anyone with information on any of the cases may call Topeka police detectives at 785-368-9400 or Shawnee County Crime Stoppers at 785-234-0007.

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