TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) -- An early morning murder triggers Toledo's 21st homicide investigation of the year. That's one more than Toledo's 2008 total.
A man driving down an alley this morning spotted Toledo's latest murder victim.
Police say the 44-year-old man was shot three to four times in a heavy drug area.
And to avoid places like this is just one way police say you can keep yourself safe.
Neighbors on Burnham Street heard the gunshots at midnight.
"I fell asleep," said Demarko Huntly, an area neighbor. "I heard the shots but I didn't get back up."
But at daybreak, neighbors realized they're in the middle of the third Toledo homicide within a week.
"You got people constantly coming here in this corner selling drugs, dropping drugs off, everything," said Debra Vincent, a neighbor.
That's what neighbors believe triggered this shooting.
"There are some people frankly who were selling drugs and were killed during drug transactions," said Cpt. Ray Carroll of the Toledo Police Department.
Police say it's this type of criminal activity and criminal behavior that made up a large part of this year's increased homicide rate.
"Some people are killed over stupid things, over an argument," Carroll said. "Somebody gets mad and comes back and shoot them. How crazy is that?"
With three more months to go in 2009, the homicide rate now stands at 21 -- one more than last year.
"Yeah, people are going to be concerned at home," the captain said.
But Toledo Police Captain Ray Carroll says you should still feel safe. Violent crime in general is still down and since his detectives have already solved 75 percent of the homicide cases this year.
"I think the people should be comforted knowing that we put a lot of people in jail," Carroll said.
But one of the six still left unsolved is last week's discovery of Cindy Sumner. The disabled 20-year-old found killed in the basement of this abandoned warehouse.
This along with the murder of 88-year-old Francis Fox in her Mulberry home proves that people still need to take all precautions.
"Don't open your door to anybody," the captain said. "Be suspicious."
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