Sixteen of York County's 19 homicide victims in 2013 were killed with guns, according to information released by the York County Coroner's Office.
The homicides include street shootings in York City, domestic murder-suicides in suburban and rural areas and the decapitation of a Hanover man, allegedly by his son.
Twelve of the 19 homicides happened in York City; of those, three remain unsolved. Two of the 12 were friends killed during a drug deal gone bad, York City Police Chief Wes Kahley has said.
There were 20 homicides countywide in 2012, according to coroner records, and 11 of them in York City. In 2011, there were 20 homicides countywide, with 16 of them in York City.
Husbands, killers: Three York County women were fatally shot by their husbands, each of whom then committed suicide.
On Feb. 5, 84-year-old Jeanette Brown was fatally shot by her husband of 65 years as she lay sleeping in their bed inside their Bermudian Church Road home in Washington Township. Sherman Brown, 85, then sat down on a bedroom chair and shot himself in the head, officials said.
Jeanette Brown suffered from terminal cancer, and her health was deteriorating, police have said.
Amanda Himes, 39, was shot and stabbed by 43-year-old Steven Himes during a domestic dispute inside their Delta Road home in Chanceford Township on March 9. He then fatally shot himself in the chest, police said.
Kids home at time: The couple left two school-age sons, both of whom were home at the time, police said.
Less than a month later, on April 2, Niha Patel, 41, was fatally shot in the head by Parag Patel, 43, in the master bedroom of their Manchester Township home on Hedgegate Lane.
Like Steven Himes, Parag Patel also fatally shot himself in the chest, according to police, who said the couple had been experiencing marital problems.
Hanover case: Hanover saw one homicide in 2013.
Steven Schaffer, 62, was fatally stabbed in his Stock Street home on Aug. 1, allegedly by 32-year-old son Scott Anthony Shaffer of Penn Township, police said.
Scott Shaffer then decapitated his father, called 911 and confessed.
He waited at his father's home for police, who arrested him.
Police shooting: One 2013 York County homicide has been ruled justifiable by York County District Attorney Tom Kearney.
Clifton Thomson, 72, of Hykes Mill Road in Conewago Township, was fatally shot by police Feb. 21 after pointing his unloaded .30-30 rifle at Northern York County Regional police officers. Minutes earlier, Thomson had fired a gun at officers in his dining room.
Kearney called it a case of "suicide by cop." Family members said Thomson battled anxiety and depression for many years.
City slayings: Chief Kahley said during his 26 years on the force, York City has averaged between 10 and 15 homicides a year.
"Especially in the last 10 years or so, the majority of them happen to be street crimes focused around the drug trade or some other kind of illicit activity," he said. "But we don't treat them any differently. A homicide is a homicide, and we want to solve all of them."
Family members of victims need closure, and killers must be brought to justice, he said.
"That's why we work hard on every single one," Kahley said.
Unsolved cases: Three of York City's 12 homicides in 2013 remain unsolved at this point, the chief said.
Rosario Medina, 44, was fatally shot inside his 12 W. South St. apartment building on Jan. 4.
Jordan Breeland, 21, of York City was fatally shot Oct. 15 in the 100 block of Jefferson Avenue while inside a car. Police said he was killed during a clash between Parkway and southside gang members.
Danny "Gamble" Steele, 36, of York City, was fatally shot while inside his car on Dec. 7 and was found dead at the corner of North George and North streets.
In most unsolved city homicides, including Steele's, police have working theories, Kahley said.
"We generally know who the person is who committed the crime," he said, but need to gather enough evidence to file charges. "The last thing we want to do is make an arrest in a case and not have the evidence to follow through."
Detectives never stop working unsolved homicides, the chief said.
-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.