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West Jefferson Police Have No Suspects For Monday's Killings

Authorities investigate the shooting deaths of four people in West Jefferson on May 25, 2021.
Adora Namigadde
Authorities investigate the shooting deaths of four people in West Jefferson on May 25, 2021.

West Jefferson Police have released the names of four people who were killed at a small apartment complex on Monday.

West Jefferson Police responded to the scene at 5:30 p.m., where they found victims lying dead inside and outside of a small apartment complex. All of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, and police said they died of apparent gunshot wounds.

The victims are Andrew Swindall, 45, West Jefferson, Shawn Wright, 45, of London, Leon Daniels, 38, of London and Jamie Lavender, 30, of Springfield. Swindall lived in the apartment.

Several neighbors said this kind of thing doesn’t happen in West Jefferson usually. Holly Hunter lives a street over from the scene of the potential homicide.

“I lived in this town my whole life and in this neighborhood for a few years now,” Hunter said. “Everyone minds their own business, and that’s the best part about living in a small town. It’s always quiet. Everyone knows everybody.”

She wasn’t home when the shooting happened, but stayed up until 2 a.m. thinking about it after returning from work.

“It’s really unfortunate what happened. I didn’t know the people, but it’s still sad,” Hunter said. “I definitely had a restless night. I think everybody’s really shook up, heartbroken and doesn’t know how to feel about the situation.”

Last Homicide Investigation Was Almost 10 Years Ago

People who say this sort of thing doesn’t happen around West Jefferson have a point. According to the police department, the last homicide investigation in the town of less than 2,000 people was in 2012.

Samantha Kinzel lives a couple of doors down from the apartment where the killings occurred. She said the incident doesn’t change her perspective on West Jefferson.

“I still feel safe. I feel fine. I’ve not had any issues in the year I’ve been here. I see the cops every day driving by,” Kinzel said. “So I still feel good.”

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office are assisting the West Jefferson Police in investigating.

So far, the West Jefferson Police Dqepartment does not have information on potential suspects. They’re asking people in the community to call the Detective Bureau at 614-879-7672, or the department’s anonymous phone tip line at 614-379-5175.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.