After the 21st homicide in Bibb County this year, we started digging deeper and asked the Bibb County Sheriff's Office about the homicide rate over the last decade.

In the last decade, Macon-Bibb has seen about 250 homicides, averaging about 23 homicides per year. Sheriff David Davis says that number has actually decreased since the 1990s.

But, before they died most of these homicide victims were in the emergency room where a trauma surgeon worked to try to save their lives and tried to prevent them from becoming another statistic.

For the last 29 years, Doctor Dennis Ashley has operated on dozens of murder victims in the trauma center at the Medical Center Navicent Health.

"Telling a loved one that your brother, sister, husband or child-- they didn't make it... those are difficult conversations to have," says Ashley. "Hollywood has glamorized guns and has glamorized gunshot wounds."

But Ashley says real life is much different.

"It's bloody, there's clothes thrown everywhere, there's blood bags on the floor," describes Ashley.

His 11 member trauma team has performed many successful surgeries throughout the decades. But some wounds are just too severe to survive.

Since 2007, there's been an average of 23 homicides a year in Macon-Bibb, about 2 a month or one about every 16 days.

"One is too many," says Sheriff Davis. The average might sound high, but according to Davis that number has actually decreased.

"I've been in this business long enough to remember back in the '90s when we would have well over 30 homicides in a year's time," says Davis.

Davis says homicides are hard for law enforcement to prevent, because most of them are "spur of the moment incidents" where conflict turns into sudden violence.

But, Davis thinks medical advances may have contributed to the slight decrease in the homicide rate throughout the years.

"We have a good trauma team, and a good medical set up here, and more people have been able to survive," says Davis.

"Typically, if you show up to the medical center, trauma center and you have a heart beat, our chance of saving you is about 95 percent," says Ashley.

Doctor Ashley says that that advances in medical technology have helped save some gun-shot victims live's, but he thinks that the mentality of the public has to change for the homicide rate to truly begin to shrink.

"Until the whole community gets on board and decides that this is a real problem and that we're going to change culture in Macon, then I'm going to continue to do what I do... and I'm going to continue to operate on these young men and women.... and a few we will save and a few we will lose," says Ashley.

Doctor Ashley also said he's seen gun shot wounds increase at Navicent from about 100 in 2015... to about 160 this year.