Demopolis man shot, killed

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Until the first minutes of Saturday morning, the murder rate in Demopolis had been zero during 2005. That stat went down the drain with only 24 hours remaining in the year.

Around midnight Friday shots erupted in the 2nd Avenue area of Demopolis leaving Keith Smith, 35, of Demopolis dead and Edward Kemp, 31, in the Marengo County Detention Center.

The homicide was the first for Demopolis, a number Detective Sgt. Tim Soronen had hoped they could avoid.

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“On an average year we have one or less,” Soronen said. “We prefer less.”

One murder was too many, Soronen said, but they were glad to keep numbers down again this year.

“We can’t control the way people are,” Soronen said. “But we are glad the rest of the year was as calm as it was. Rates (homicide) were down in years past. We had only had one or two and three was the record I know of.”

The motive for the shooting is still under investigation, but Soronen said the two had an argument. Police were called when others heard shots erupt. When they arrived they found Smith lying on the floor, unresponsive, with two gunshot wounds from a .38 caliber handgun.

Smith remained unresponsive as he was transported to Bryan W. Whitfield Hospital. Despite CPR and other efforts to revive him, he was pronounced deceased.

After questioning witnesses, officers immediately began searching for Edward Kemp as a suspect in the case.

Kemp, 35, of Demopolis did not make it far from the scene before he was apprehended. Authorities found him near the scene sitting in his car, where he was taken into custody.

When officers found Kemp he was still in possession of what they believe to be the weapon used in the offense.

Kemp was arrested and transported to the Marengo County Detention Center. No bond was set as of 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Soronen said Kemp has no prior criminal record and is cooperating with the investigation.