With its homicide count already at a 17-year high, the Elm City saw its 31st murder Sunday evening.

Edward Lowery, 29, was shot while riding a bicycle around Liberty and Putnam streets, near Union Station, at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Officers with the New Haven Police Department responded, and Lowery was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards, said NHPD spokesman David Hartman. Lowery’s homicide brings New Haven’s murder count up to 31, approaching 1994’s 32 homicides, and 1990’s record-high 34 homicides.

The NHPD’s Major Crimes Unit, headed by Lieutenant Julie Johnson, launched an investigation that remains in its preliminary stages. Johnson said Lowery was shot at least three times in the back of the head, though the New Haven Register reported that witnesses heard seven to eight gunshots.

Lowery escaped in February from a halfway house, where he was serving out a 2007 drug sales conviction, according to State Department of Correction records. Police had a warrant out for his arrest, Johnson added.

CORRECTION: Nov. 28, 2011

An earlier version of this article misstated the number of homicides New Haven saw in 1994.