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West Palm’s 27 homicides led way as killings rose in county during 2017

As 2017 becomes history in a few hours, the year is guaranteed to rank among the deadliest in Palm Beach County in nearly a decade.

According to an online Palm Beach Post database, 100 people were victims of homicides through Sunday afternoon. Official numbers from government agencies won’t be available until early 2018.

Hardest hit was West Palm Beach, the scene of 27 murders this year including the slaying Thursday night of a woman and her 11-year-old daughter. No municipality has recorded as many homicides in a single year since the creation of The Post’s database in 2009.

Manuel Jerome Poole, a 51-year-old grandfather and the first person murdered in the county in 2017, was shot to death Jan. 5 outside his 13th Street apartment building in West Palm Beach. A neighbor, Nathaniel Royal, 51, was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges.

Since Poole was murdered, 99 others have been killed inside the county’s borders.

The most recent victims were two unidentified men shot in Boynton Beach on Sunday afternoon.

Prior to Sunday, the most recent were Kaladaa Crowell, 36, and her 11-year-old daughter, Kyra Ingritt, who were gunned down Thursday evening in West Palm Beach in what investigators believe was a domestic incident. City police have identified Marlin Larice Joseph, 26, as the gunman and a search that includes local and federal police agencies continued Sunday evening.

The 100 homicides make 2017 the second deadliest year since 2009, The Post’s homicide tracker shows. In 2015, 109 people were homicide victims.

In 2016, 87 people were slain in the county, the fewest since 2011.

Drugs at core of Jupiter triple homicides, documents show

The deadliest homicide event of 2017 took place on Super Bowl Sunday when two women and one man — each in their 20s — were found shot to death in the backyard of a rented house in Jupiter. Two local men were arrested, and each faces three counts of first-degree murder.

Of the 100 homicides, 48 have been resolved. Most of the cases resulted in arrests, but several were concluded because the accused killer either committed suicide or the homicide victim was killed in a police-involved shooting.

One disturbing development in 2017 was the 12 juveniles arrested on homicide-related charges, more than double the number of teens charged in homicides the previous year, a Post analysis of jail records show.

Five of those juveniles arrested in 2017 face charges in two Lake Worth homicides tied to the international gang MS-13. One is barely 16.

Four are accused in separate killings across the county that took the lives of a 20-year-old at a Boynton Beach park; a 15-year-old in Riviera Beach; a mixed martial arts fighter in suburban Boca Raton; and a 21-year-old in Delray Beach.

Two of the juveniles were arrested on attempted homicide charges in nonfatal shootings. Also, one was arrested in a fatal DUI.

Some of the details gleaned from the 2017 list of homicides include:

— Gunfire kills almost everybody. At least 89 of those 100 homicide victims were shot to death; five were stabbed, two were killed by blunt traumas and four were found dead by unknown causes.

— West Palm Beach was the scene for 27 homicides. Unincorporated Palm Beach County marked 18 and Riviera Beach had 12. The murder rate in West Palm Beach jumped drastically from 2016 when 10 were slain; it was even worse than the 23 homicides in 2015, when 10 people were killed in a 2-square-mile area north of Clematis Street and CityPlace during the summer months.

— Minorities are killed disproportionately compared to whites. Of the 100 victims, at least 65 were black; 21 were white; nine were Hispanic; one was native American; and one was unknown. Palm Beach County is 56 percent white non-Hispanic, the Census Bureau estimates, but white non-Hispanics accounted for no more than 24 percent of the homicide deaths.

— At least two-thirds (67) of those killed were either in their 20s or 30s. The oldest known killed was John Henry Barrett, who died at 77, almost six decades after he’d been shot. The youngest known victim was Kyra Inglett, 11, who was killed Thursday. Sunday’s victims had not been identified.

— Of the 100 killed, 84 were males and 16 were females. Of the female victims, at least eight were killed by husbands, boyfriends or roommates. Additionally, police said the woman and girl killed Thursday died during some sort of domestic dispute.

— Several trends can be combined: At least 38 of the 100 killed, or almost two of every five, were of black men in their 20s and 30s who were shot to death. A Palm Beach Post analysis of Census Bureau estimates suggests that about 1 in 40 Palm Beach County residents is a black male in his 20s or 30s.

Staff writer Olivia Hitchcock contributed to this story.

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