By Sara Belsole
COLUMBUS, GA - There have been 11 homicides so far this year and five motor vehicle fatalities in Muscogee County, but it's the number of people who have taken their owns lives that will shock you.
There have been 17 suicides in Columbus so far this year, and officials say we are on track to break the record.
"If it was a natural death it wouldn't have been so bad, but he did it right in front of me and it broke my heart," Phyllis Jenkins says.
Phyllis' husband Joseph killed himself inside their home on February 11th. She says when they were getting ready that morning, Joseph just snapped, getting physical with his wife for the first time during there decades-long marriage.
Phyllis went out onto the porch and then she says she heard it---a gun shot.
"He was standing in the middle of the floor with a gun to his head and I guess his reflexes just let go," she says.
Joseph was 54-years-old.
"I didn't want him to leave me. He was my back bone," Phyllis says.
Joseph Jenkins is just one of 17 Columbus residents who have committed suicide so far this year. Muscogee County Coroner BuddyBbryan says suicides are on the rise throughout Georgia.
"I predict this year is going to be a record-breaking year, meaning we are probably looking at 45-50 possible suicides this year," Bryan says.
That would be just about double the suicide numbers in 2010 and 2011.
"They are primarily male who dominate the field, gunshot is the primary causes," Bryan says.
While that's the case in nine of this year's suicides, three females have killed themselves, two with a gun. Two teenagers are on this year's suicide list, including 13-year-old Devin Brown who hanged himself after reportedly being bullied at school. There have also been two overdoses, two hangings and one man who jumped off the Ralston in Uptown.
So why are people killing themselves?
"I think the economy has a lot to do with it, people out of work, losing their homes," Bryan says.
But for Phyllis Jenkins, the answer isn't clear.
"I wish I could have kept him from doing it. I wish I would have said something," she says.
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