A look back at Rowan County homicides in 2020

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 27, 2020

By Shavonne Potts

SALISBURY — In mid-January, a murder-suicide rocked the small town of Granite Quarry as word spread that longtime firefighter Tyler Hamilton, known by friends as a kind-hearted person, was the victim of Rowan County’s first murder of the year.

Hamilton, 30, was shot outside a Granite Quarry duplex on the morning of Jan. 22 after he visited with friend Alaina Myers.

Myers’ estranged husband, Andrew, sat inside a truck, got out and shot the firefighter once in the head. The 26-year-old Myers then went inside the home, argued with his wife and then turned the gun on himself. Both men were deceased by the time officers with the Granite Quarry-Faith Joint Police Authority arrived. Alaina Myers was not injured.

Andrew had been served with a temporary domestic violence protective order that had expired about a week before the shootings.

Hamilton began with the fire service as a junior firefighter and worked alongside his father Rick, a Franklin Fire Department captain, and his brother Trevor, also a firefighter.

Hamilton was a past member of Ellis and Spencer Fire department and before his death served at Miller’s Ferry Fire Department as a volunteer. News of the fatal shooting quickly spread throughout the firefighting community and among many of Hamilton’s friends.

Friends and family called Hamilton a kind, positive person who never met a stranger.

“I never saw him without a smile on his face. He was an amazing young man,” said Rowan County Fire Marshal Deborah Horne.

As of Saturday, 11 people have died as a result of violence

Other homicides that occurred this year:

Kevon Cousar, Jan. 23, Kannapolis Police Department

The 18-year-old Cousar was shot in the chest after a bullet traveled into the bedroom of his Kannapolis home. The teen was a senior at A.L. Brown High School. Fire and EMS personnel tried to revive the teen but were unsuccessful.

On Jan. 31, Jermiah Desean Howard, 19, of Kannapolis, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He turned himself into the authorities during an interview.

Christina Davis-Land and Paul Land, March 14, Salisbury Police Department

Police arrived at 201 Fairview St. for a welfare check. Officers found Christina Davis-Land, 52, inside the home deceased from multiple gunshot wounds. Upon searching the home, officers found the victim’s husband, Paul Land, 52, deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said there had been no previous domestic-related calls to the home.

Raymond Eugene Drye, April 1, Rowan County Sheriff’s Office

Abe Alexander Helms, 45, faced a series of charges that included felony voluntary manslaughter, after his stepfather, Raymond Eugene Drye, died at a hospital in Concord from injuries sustained in an assault. Helms is accused of returning home intoxicated and assaulting his sister-in-law, mother and stepfather.

All of the victims were seen by EMS at the scene but refused to be treated at the hospital. Drye complained of head pain and was taken to the hospital where he later died. An investigation determined Drye’s death was caused by the head injury he received in the assault.

Jonathan Ijames, April 26, Salisbury Police Department

Jonathan Elijah Ijames, 30, was shot multiple times outside of the Lafayette Street apartment complex

Reginald Dean Oglesby Jr., who’d been identified early on as a fifth victim in the shooting, turned himself into authorities on May 25. He faces second-degree murder charges.

Henry Lee Wilder Jr., June 7, Salisbury Police Department

Wilder, 33, and another man, D’Andre Mitchell, were shot while were shot in the 800 block of Green Street, and a third man suffered minor injuries. Police responded to shots fired calls made to 911. On June 24, Dequan Chawlk was arrested during a traffic stop and charged with first-degree murder. Police investigators have released few details, including a motive.

Xavier Nathaniel Gibbs, Sept. 15, Salisbury Police Department

The 17-year-old Charlotte teen was killed outside of Laurel Pointe Apartment complex. Police responded to the complex after they received a call from witnesses who heard gunshots. Police found the teen already deceased from a gunshot wound.

The teen had spent some time in Salisbury in the past but did not live at the complex. Police have not revealed the connection the teen had with the apartment complex, which is located off Lash Drive. The case remains unsolved.

Debra Greene Brumley and Jonathan Lee Brumley, Oct. 24, Salisbury Police Department

Salisbury Police officers responded on the evening of Oct. 24 to a report of two bodies inside a home. Officers discovered the bodies of 61-year-old Debra Brumley and her son, Jonathan Brumley, 38. The two had been stabbed multiple times inside their Lincolnton Road home. No arrest has been made.

Jaiden Yates, Nov. 13, Kannapolis Police Department

Kannapolis police officers received a 911 call regarding a shooting at the 300 block of West 13th Street. When police officers arrived, they found a teenager who had been shot. They immediately began CPR but were unable to save him. He was later identified as 17-year-old Jaiden Yates, an A.L. Brown High School senior. No arrest has been made in this case.