State police in Erie area handle record number of homicides

ERIE (AP) — State police in Pennsylvania’s northwestern corner say it’s hard to pinpoint a reason for a large spike in homicide cases this year.

The Erie Times-News reports that the state police troop covering Erie, Crawford, Warren and Venango counties has investigated 15 homicides in 2017. Its previous high was eight.

Lt. Wayne Kline says some cases have involved drugs but the increase can’t be attributed to a single cause, such as rising opioid use. He noted other cases involved domestic violence, robbery or financial issues.

Among the most taxing cases for the troop this year was a fatal shooting at an outdoor party in June. As many as 200 people attended the party, and multiple investigators were assigned solely to identify them and get them in for interviews.