Murder rate rose in the Tri County area in 2015

Murder rate rose in the Tri County area in 2015
Nine members of Mother Emanuel AME Church were killed on June 17, 2015. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The murder rate in the Tri-County area went up in 2015, with 83 killings reported in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties.

Sixty-nine people were murdered last year, according to officials from the three coroner's offices.

Two high-profile cases were included.

Those were the shooting deaths of nine worshipers at Emanuel AM Church which led to the arrest of Dylann Roof and the shooting death of Walter Scott that led to murder charges against former North Charleston Police officer Michael Slager.

The number of murders in two counties went up this year, according to coroners' reports.

In Charleston County, there were 54 murders recorded, seven more than in 2014.

Dorchester County had 22 murders this year, 13 more than last year.

Berkeley County saw a drop with seven murders this year, compared to 13 last year.

Some local agencies saw a rise in their murder rates.

Charleston Police report 17 murder victims this year, eight more than in 2014.

A spokesman says each of the Emanuel AME victims are included in this year's count.

The Dorchester County Sheriff's Office says it investigated 12 murders this year, six more than last year.

Two agencies saw fewer murders this year. North Charleston Police report 19 murder victims this year, three fewer than last year. The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office handled only four murders this year, four fewer than last year.

To Cannie Zellars, the numbers mean much more than statistics.

Her son, Dashawn Zellars was shot and killed in 2013.

Derrick McKinley was charged with his murder.

"It is very hard. I still don't sleep at night. I'm still in a dream, thinking my son's going to come home and he's not," Zellars said.

Zellars says she can identify with the family members whose loved ones were killed this year.

"The violence just needs to stop. We go through so much stuff and families don't need go through that."

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