Three homicides reported in four months in city

John Richmeier

While it is not unusual for the city of Leavenworth to have one or two murders in a year, the Leavenworth Police Department has investigated three homicides in the last four months.

Suspects have been charged in two of the cases. The third homicide remains unsolved.

Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens notes there has been an uptick in gun violence across the country. He also points to the ongoing problem of domestic violence as the cause of one of the homicides.

The first homicide was reported July 18. Sanquan M. Brooks died as a result of a shooting on North 13th Terrace. Cody J. Nichols has been charged in connection to Brooks’ death.

The second homicide was reported Aug. 16 on Eisenhower Road. Matthew Smith was fatally shot while driving a pickup truck. The case remains unsolved.

The most recent homicide occurred Friday. The remains of Joshua Gilson were found at a home in the 800 block of Kiowa Street. His wife, Alexandra Gilson, now faces a murder charge.

Kitchens said there has been an increase in violent crime around the country during the last several months. And communities seem to be struggling with gun violence.

“We’re not immune to that unfortunately,” he said.

At times, the Leavenworth Police Department will refer gun violence cases, particularly ones that also involve drug trafficking, to federal prosecutors, Kitchens said.

He said the consequences for these crimes can be more severe at the federal level.

Kitchens said the first two of the city’s three recent homicide cases primarily involved gun violence.

He said the third case is alleged to have been the result of domestic violence.

Kitchens said the Leavenworth Police Department, and the community as a whole, spends a lot of time trying to get a handle on domestic violence.

“We just still haven’t done enough yet to get that to go in the right direction,” he said.

He said the Police Department will make arrests for domestic violence. But he said it also is important for victims to receive support to get them out of situations of repeated violence.

The Alliance Against Family Violence provides services to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Leavenworth County.

Kitchens noted the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office recently investigated a double homicide that is alleged to have involved domestic violence.

That case was reported Oct. 24 on Hillside Road near Lansing. The case resulted in a capital murder charge being filed against Donald “Donny” R. Jackson Jr. for allegedly murdering two sons.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR