Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)By Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – For the first time in 22 years, the number of people murdered in the city of St. Louis is expected to top 200.

Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole says the motives for this year’s murders have been many.

“It’s all types of societal issues: Personal disputes, narcotics, revenge,” he said.

O’Toole says police could solve more murders — and maybe prevent others — if more eyewitnesses would name names.

img 2765 St. Louis Murder Rate Nears 200

Then St. Louis Police Major Lawrence O’Toole (KMOX/file photo)

“It’s extremely frustrating for the police,” O’Toole said. “We want to solve crime. That’s why we’re here. We want to prevent it. And in many of these cases, we know we could solve this crime if we had people come forward and cooperate with us. The circuit attorney could prosecute these cases.”

O’Toole spoke as the city’s murder tally was teetering at 199 for several days.

He says he understands potential witnesses are afraid of retaliation, but they can always help police with anonymous tips by calling CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.

The last time the city’s murder tally topped 200 was in 1995. The worst year in recent history was 1993 with 267 murders.

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