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OUR VIEW: If you see something, say something

On New Year’s Day, a 29-year-old LaGrange resident, Keenen Leonard, was found dead in a car. Leonard had been shot multiple times and was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was another tragic incident in our community, the first murder of 2021 after 2020 saw seven murders in LaGrange, up from four in 2019.

The death of anyone, especially the violent killing of a young person, is tragic. What makes this even more heartbreaking, though, is that the Lagrange Police Department told us on Monday that in their conversations with people who knew Leonard, they heard nothing but good things.

LPD also told us Monday that they had not identified any suspects or a motive in the killing. That could change, but they need your help.

Anyone with information about criminal incidents is asked to contact LPD at (706) 883-2603 or Troup County Crime Stoppers at (706) 812-1000.

Solving this case will not bring Keenen Leonard back. Nor will arresting and prosecuting the culprits in the other murders that have taken place recently.

Justice, however, must be served. Leonard’s family is owed that. Every victim’s family is owed that.

Police have other tools for investigating crimes, but witnesses are a key component of solving crimes.

An anonymous tip to investigators could mean the difference between bringing a family closure and violent crimes going unsolved. Serving as a witness can do the same.

We don’t know why there were more murders last year than the previous year. That trend wasn’t isolated to LaGrange, and experts have lots of theories.

What we do know is that we, as a community, must do everything in our power to stop more incidents like this from happening. That can mean advocating for policies that address the causes of crime. It can mean intervening in the lives of people who we know that are headed down the wrong path.

But when someone crosses that line and takes a life, justice is required. Speaking up can help achieve that. We hope if you know anything about Friday’s crime that you’ll come forward and call the LPD, or Crime Stoppers.