Tuscaloosa County 2021 homicide number ties with 2020

2021 Homicides

Tuscaloosa County’s homicide numbers for 2021 are tied with the year before at 22. That number is the highest within the last five years, and of those 22, six victims were minors.

Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit Capt. Jack Kennedy said homicides are always painful to investigate, but it’s so much worse when the person whose life was taken is still a teen or a child.

“We have seen a definite uptick in the victims and suspects being minors,” Kennedy said. “That has been a definite concern to leaders in law enforcement, the Tuscaloosa area and the Violent Crimes Unit.”

The teenagers who died in 2021 include:

  • Kingston Ross, 13, who died in February. At the time of the shooting, two older teens said they acted in self-defense during the shooting. The case is going to a grand jury, and no one has been charged so far.
  • Xzorian Gray, 16, was shot inside a vehicle at the intersection of Fosters Ferry Road and 21st Street in May. JaShon Griffin, 22, and Johnneius Wilson, 17, were charged with capital murder and attempted murder in the case. At the time of the shooting, Wilson was out on bond in another murder charge from a shooting in June 2020.
  • Kei’lan Allen, 13, was shot and killed in his bedroom in October, the victim of a drive-by shooting in which he was not the intended target. Jaden Zaire Jenkins, 19, 21-year-old Julian Lamont Gordon Jr. and 18-year-old James Deanthony Reed are facing capital murder charges in Allen’s death.
  • Trinity Shannon, 16, died less than a week after Allen on Oct. 19, shot and killed at a drive-thru in Northport. Kenderius Sherman, 19, was charged with capital murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Two infants were also killed this year:

  • Xander Myers, 6 months, died in October. Myers’ grandmother, 46-year-old Charlotte Simpson, was charged with manslaughter in his death after investigators determined he died from “bilateral subdural hematoma from shaking.”
  • Raylean Richardson, 18  months, died last month of blunt force trauma and internal bleeding. Joseph Earl Jenkins, 28, is charged with capital murder in her death. Jenkins was the boyfriend of Raylean’s mother.

The most recent unsolved homicide in Tuscaloosa County is the Zakia Bibbs’ case from July 5, 2019. Bibbs was a passenger in a vehicle traveling on Interstate 20/59 when she was shot and killed by someone in a passing vehicle. Two others in the vehicle were injured. No arrests have been made.

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