Louisville Metro Police Department

(WDRB file photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville has pushed past 170 homicides this year, nearing the all-time record set last year of 173, according to data from the Louisville Metro Police Department. 

According to LMPD, as of Nov. 16, there have been 171 homicides in Louisville for the year to date. The city's most recent homicide investigation began Tuesday afternoon when police say a man was found shot to death inside a car in the Russell neighborhood. 

"The single greatest challenge to our city thriving, the single greatest economic development challenge to our city — is violent crime," said former U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman, who was part of a discussion on public safety Tuesday night.

"We must do a better job in saving lives," said Coleman. "We're at the top of every list we want to be at the bottom of, in terms of this city, we must help mitigate this threat to victims."

Lakesia Jeffery lost her 26-year-old son in a Louisville shooting in December 2020. She continues waiting for an arrest in the case, as she hears of more and more families losing their loved ones in similar situations. 

"His name was John Robert Johnson, Jr. We called him little Jay," she said. "He was hilarious, he was the jokester."

He left behind three young children. Jeffrey said in the months since her son's death, she's known several other parents who have lost their children in shootings.

"That pain is unmatched," she said. "Nothing surpasses that pain."

Coleman said he hopes programs like Group Violence Intervention (GVI) create a change in Louisville. He said the program has had success in other cities. 

"I'm just like, whatever it takes. We need to do to put a stop to this, some kind of way," said Jeffery.

LMPD released information Tuesday saying at least three of this year's homicides have now been ruled justified by the Commonwealth Attorney's Office. Previous reports show a different homicide number for 2021 before that information was revealed. Police said to date, the current number of criminal homicides is 171.

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