UPDATED at 10:30 a.m. Thursday with latest homicide count.
ST. LOUIS — The city's homicide tally continued to mount Thursday when two men were found slain before sunrise in the College Hill neighborhood.
The bodies of the men were discovered about 6 a.m. in the 2100 block of De Soto Avenue, police said. One of the men was shot in the head and the other had an apparent gunshot wound to the chest.
No additional details were immediately released by police. College Hill had two previous homicides this year. The neighborhood is east of O'Fallon Park and south of Interstate 70. Reported crime there in the past six months is up about 9% compared to the same period a year ago.
As of 8 a.m. Thursday, St. Louis had 236 homicides, the highest since 1994 when there were 248 all year. At this time last year, there were 173 homicides, said St. Louis police Officer Michelle Woodling.
The highest number of killings in a single year in St. Louis was 267 in 1993, when the city had some 387,000 residents. That means the homicide rate — homicides per 100,000 people — was 69 that year.
But the population of St. Louis has dwindled over the decades, settling now at just over 300,000. The number of killings this year means the city's homicide rate is projected to be 79, a startling number that appears to exceed the rate for any other large U.S. city.
The city's homicide commander, police Lt. Scott Aubuchon, called it "indescribable times" as the killings surged over the summer.
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