Grade schooler Timon Knox was scared to get his hair cut before he met the nice man down the street.
Now that man, Aaron L. Burton, 39, of 2118 Windsor St., is dead.
Burton, also known as Aaron Ferlitous Trammell, was found shot to death inside his small, red brick duplex after Chattanooga police responded to an open door at 5 a.m. Saturday.
Timon’s mother says her son’s life will change without the calming presence of the man who gave him haircuts every week for more than a year.
Kissler Knox remembers the first time she and her son walked into Burton’s home for a quick clip.
“When [Burton] smiled and showed [Timon] that he wasn’t going to hurt him, he stopped fidgeting and crying,” Timon’s mother said. “He’s going to be missed.”
Police spokeswoman Sgt. Rebecca Royval said investigators were unsure how many times he was shot or where on his body, but it appears he was killed in his home.
Neighbors said they didn’t hear any gunshots before Burton’s body was found. They said he was a friendly, well-known presence in the neighborhood.
“He always had a smile on his face,” Knox said. “If he ever had a bad day, no one would know.”
But Burton has a history of violence. In 1996 he pleaded guilty to a 1991 second-degree murder charge and was sentenced to 16 years in prison, according to Chattanooga Times Free Press archives. WRCB Channel 3 reported that Burton was released early in 2009.
This shooting marks the ninth homicide of the year and the seventh shooting — three of which were fatal — within a mile of Burton’s home.
Standing on her front porch Saturday afternoon, Burton’s next-door neighbor Barbra Michelle couldn’t stand to look at her friend’s house. She had just spoken with the R&B-music lover Friday about getting him tickets to a concert she was going to on April 16.
“He was a nice person. You didn’t even see that man cuss,” she said. “I’ve been trying not to cry all day.”
Michelle said Burton’s killer was likely someone he knew. The man had a small group of the same people over to his house, she said, and he never opened his door for those he didn’t know.
“Whoever did that to him, I hope something happens to them that’s really bad,” she said.