published Monday, July 28th, 2014

East Lake Courts stabbing raises number

2525 sixth Ave. Court
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The Sunday stabbing of a 23-year-old man in East Lake Courts brings this year's total number of homicides to 20 for the city -- more than in all of 2013.

With five months left to go in this calendar year, 20 people have officially lost their lives at the hands of another. Nineteen homicides were reported in 2013.

The recent stabbing occurred at 2525 sixth Ave. Court -- the same address where Melvin Crayton, an 18-year-old high school student, was fatally shot July 6.

Former East Lake Courts Resident Association President Jesse Lawrence said she feels bad about the deaths of so many young people in the community and wants the violence to end.

"They need to get somewhere and sit down," said the longtime East Lake Courts resident and grandmother. "Instead of picking up knives and guns they need to go to school or church and learn something."

Lawrence said she knows of no information specific to the stabbing Sunday, but says people in gangs cause a lot of violence in the neighborhood.

"Gang members think they own out here," she said. "You walk down the street and they don't even want to step aside to let you through."

It would help if more people reported information, but people are afraid, said Lawrence, though she plans to report any criminal activity she sees.

"We've got to die sooner or later," she said. "If it causes me to lose my life, I'm going to speak the truth."

Chattanooga Police officers responded to the stabbing at about 2:48 a.m. Sunday. They found a 23-year-old black male with a stab wound to his chest. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he later died from the injury.

The victim's name had not been released at press time. The investigation is ongoing and more information will be released when available.

The stabbing occurred at the second-largest public housing site in the city. Lawrence said crime would decrease if housing officials demolished the public housing site.

"Tear the projects down and go to single housing where everybody isn't staying under the other," she said. "The projects is nothing but a killing ground."

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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