NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Two murders on the same day just three miles apart put Nashville families on edge and the city on pace for its deadliest year since 1997.
Metro Nashville Police charged Jose Aguilar, 47, with murder after officers said he hit Barry Lafferty with his car Sunday at 5 p.m. on Meridian Street in East Nashville, following two fights.
Hours later, Metro officers in the North Precinct investigated the shooting deaths of Virgil Taylor, 50, and his longtime girlfriend, Latasha Booker, 43, as a murder-suicide.
Murders are up 28.6 percent in North Nashville from this time last year and up 162.5 percent in East Nashville, according to Metro Police statistics.
On Monday, Fox 17 News spoke to Barry Lafferty’s friends who witnessed the crash.
“I never thought Barry would go out like that,” said Ray Jenkins, who has known Lafferty for decades.
On Sunday night, Jenkins and Candace Martin saw a dark sedan fly down Meridian Street and cross over the double yellow lines toward Lafferty, who was walking with his friend Patty Jenkins.
Martin said Lafferty pushed her out of the way just before he got hit.
“He done one more heroic thing to this family,” Martin said. “He saved her life."
Police charged the driver with murder, saying he intentionally hit Lafferty. Ray Jenkins said he's lived in east Nashville for 24 years, and his neighborhood is getting more violent.
Murders are up 41 percent in Davidson County since last year. The numbers show Nashville’s murder rate is set to be the highest since 1997, which had an all-time high of 112 murders
The latest hits close to home for Jenkins, who instead of spending Christmas with a family friend, is now planning to go to his funeral.
"It hurts too damn bad,” Jenkins said.
Six of Metro Police's eight police precincts have seen a rise in murders from this time last year. Only the West and the Central precincts have seen a drop in the murder rate.
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