ANTIOCH -- One man died and another man was critically injured in a shooting Wednesday, the latest homicide in a city that is on pace to have its deadliest year in more than a decade.
Police said 23-year-old Lavonta Crummie, identified Thursday by the Contra Costa County Coroner's Office, was pronounced dead at the scene after the 7:30 p.m. shooting on Delta Fair Boulevard. Police said he resided in Richmond, but a coroner's deputy said Crummie also had an Antioch address.
The shooting also injured an unidentified Vallejo man, police said. He was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he was in critical condition but was expected to survive, authorities said.
The homicide was the eighth of the year in Antioch, two shy of the total in 2012 and three more than in 2011. The spike in homicides is particularly glaring because the city released crime statistics last week that showed its overall crime rate in the first six months of 2012 was down 15 percent over the same period last year.
At this time a year ago, only four homicides were on the ledger.
"I can't say that there's a specific reason" for the spike in killings, Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando said. "But one thing we're seeing is that the victims in most of the homicides have been involved in other criminal activities or they're in a gang. And that's a lifestyle that's going to lead to situations where you will have violence occur. With that dynamic, homicides are among the most difficult crimes to predict."
Police have not said if they believe Crummie's slaying was gang-related.
Cantando lauded his force for its work in helping to reduce the number of violent crimes during a time Antioch city leaders have termed a "crime emergency." He said, however, that such success will continue to be an uphill climb as long as the department's police staff remains understaffed.
The department had 126 sworn officers in 2007 but only 74 full-time officers now, Cantando told about 70 people who attended Saturday's Coffee with the Cops meeting.
"We're very happy with the job our officers are doing on the street, but again, when you are unable to staff all the areas of need, you become reactive instead of proactive," he said Thursday. "We are a reactive force right now. If we could become more proactive, we could take steps to prevent some crimes from happening and, theoretically, perhaps prevent some of these homicides from taking place."
Early clues indicated that the latest killing occurred while the two shooting victims were in a vehicle on Delta Fair Boulevard just north of Buchanan Drive, Antioch police Sgt. Tony Morefield said. At some point, someone in a gold, four-door Honda or Toyota fired at them, Morefield said, but police do not have a motive.
The vehicle in which the men rode was found on Somersville Road, just north of Buchanan, Morefield said. Several shell casings were found on Delta Fair Boulevard, police said.
Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Meads at 925-779-6884.
Staff writer Paul Burgarino contributed to this story. Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.