DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – While there have been more than 20 homicides in Durham so far this year, Durham police are making progress in solving the cases.

Since July 1, Durham police have arrested at least eight murder suspects in connection with at least six different homicides that have happened so far this year.

This comes as there have been 22 people shot and killed in Durham so far this year, which is the same amount of people killed by this time in 2021, which was a record-breaking year for homicides in the city.

One of the murder suspects Durham police recently arrested is 25-year-old Ayinde Melvin. Melvin was taken into custody on July 28 in connection to the murder of 35-year-old Kenneth Hawley from Oxford, police said.

According to Hawley’s family, he was at a family gathering on Miosha Street on June 10 when a fight broke out and Hawley was shot.

He was taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries.

He leaves behind a wife and six children.

“It’s gut-wrenching when I think about it, that was my person — I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with him,” said Latricia Taylor Hawley, Hawley’s wife. “He loved his kids — he was an excellent father.”

While an arrest has been made in her husband’s case, she still doesn’t understand why this happened.

“We were supposed to be celebrating his birthday next week, and we’re not going to get the chance to do that,” his wife said. “I still have that one question as to ‘why, what did you get out of shooting him?’”

Hawley’s sister, Monaka Hawley Mann, said she’s thankful an arrest has been made but she said more needs to be done to address the overall problem with gun violence.

“You can’t even go to a family event without having to worry about someone getting shot and not coming home to see your kids,” Mann said.

She said she would like to see not just the city, but also the county, the state, and the country do more to address the problem. For instance, she’s calling for stricter gun laws to keep guns out of the wrong hands.

“Something needs to be done about this because it’s really getting out of hand,” Mann said.

CBS 17 reached out to police to find out more about what efforts have helped them to make eight arrests in the last month.

While we are still waiting to hear back, CBS 17 obtained a copy of the department’s violent crime initiative plan that calls on officers to conduct traffic stops, knock and talks, and patrols in target areas of high crime.

CBS 17 also asked Durham police if they had updated numbers on how many homicides have been solved so far this year, but we are still waiting to hear back.