At Winston Gant's funeral Friday afternoon, a long line of tow trucks led the processional — a tribute to a man who spent more than 40 years working in the automobile industry.
"It was amazing to see; I'd never seen anything like it," Gant's daughter, Kim McCormick, said Saturday. "I think there were about 15 [trucks]. He would have loved that; he would have been impressed."
Gant died Wednesday. He was shot during a July 28 robbery outside his home and business. It was Red Bank's only homicide so far this year.
McCormick, who is married to Republican state Rep. Gerald McCormick, said her father loved animals and enjoyed spending time with his friends. But above all else, she said, he worked hard.
"He knew many people in the community, and he was a very hard worker," she said. "I think that's what my brothers and I learned from him: work ethic."
The robbery happened about 1 a.m. at Gant's Towing, 2401 Briggs Ave. Gant was with a woman who was an employee and family friend. She was robbed but uninjured.
The robbers wore dark clothing and left in a dark sedan. Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol said Saturday that the investigation is at a crucial point.
"We've made some good progress on it," he said. "We're actively working some really good leads on it and we're hoping to get this closed really quickly."
Lee Wright lives just across the street from Gant's home and said he was shocked when he heard about the robbery.
"I was like, 'Holy crap, this is Red Bank!'" he said. "That kind of stuff isn't supposed to go down. My baby's mama lives over in East Chattanooga. And I'm always like, 'Y'all need to come back across the river, it's so much safer over here.' And then right across the street somebody gets shot."
Still, Wright said he feels safe in the neighborhood, where homicides are rare. Gant's death is only the third homicide in Red Bank in 11 years.
On a 'tribute wall' for Gant on Lane Funeral Home's website, friends and family members remembered him as a man who deeply loved his family.
"Winston was a good friend to me and stood up for me on more than one occasion," Kirk Woolwine wrote. "I will miss him."
McCormick said her father was always generous and often helped needy people.
"He was a good person," she said. "The irony of this is that he would often help people in need, and it's just a shame that his life ended this way."
Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...