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Columbus murder rate still below usual highs of last decade, despite five weekend homicides

 Police Line Do Not Cross tape at a crime scene
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Five people were killed by gunfire in Columbus this weekend.

Raymundo Sanchez-Hernandez, 30, was shot and killed around 5 a.m. Sunday in the 300 block of Marshall Passage, just south of East Main Street. Tyler Goins was celebrating his 34th birthday when he was shot and killed around 12:30 a.m. Saturday in the 4000 block on Vineshire Drive on the city's east side.

Malachi Pee, 27, Da'ondre Bullock, 18, and Garcia Dixon Jr., 26, died from gunshots around 2:45 a.m. Saturday at the corner of Summit and East 5th avenues. Three other people were injured in that shooting.

Despite the deadly weekend, an anti-violence advocate said she has faith it won't reverse the trend of Columbus' decade-low murder rate, so far this year.

Malissa Thomas-St. Clair, CEO and co-founder of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children, said she trusts anti-violence efforts are paying off and believes the weekend shootings were an anomaly.

There have been a total of 36 homicides in Columbus so far this year. That's half as many at this point in time last year and the lowest amount of homicides Columbus has seen at this point in a decade.

"When we came into this past weekend, we were at 30 homicides, (which is) historically low. As a matter of fact, we've been acknowledged as the city that had the most crime, homicide reductions," Thomas-St. Clair said. "What happened this weekend? I hope and I pray and I believe that it is an isolated incident that we can now use this, unfortunate, horrendous tragedy as a way to now, not be reactive, but be proactive and preventative."

Thomas-St. Clair is asking business owners to help solve conflicts before they escalate and to bring in people who are trained for dialogue to help. And she wants people who are considering pulling out a weapon to consider the consequences first.

"Think two days from now, five days from now, five years from now. Think about their children. Think about their mothers. It takes five seconds. One. Two. Three. Four. Five to change a decision," Thomas-St. Clair said.

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News.