published Saturday, June 28th, 2014

New police chief's first days 'tragic': Chattanooga sees 3 killings in most violent week of 2014

Chattanooga police Chief Fred Fletcher arrives where a body was found in the parking lot of a doctor’s office on Delawanna Terrace near Pineville Road early Friday morning.
Chattanooga police Chief Fred Fletcher arrives where a body was found in the parking lot of a doctor’s office on Delawanna Terrace near Pineville Road early Friday morning.
Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

THE THREE HOMICIDES

Wednesday

4700 South Terrace Road: Cedric Mikes, 32, was found dead after police received a call about a traffic crash. Mikes' vehicle had rolled down an embankment. He was found to have been shot.

1400 Bennett Ave.: Charles James King, 41, was found dead in a vehicle after police responded to the area on a shots-fired call.

Friday

Delawanna Terrace and Pineville Road: At 6:45 a.m. police received a call about a suspicious object that turned out to be the body of a white male whom authorities have not publicly identified.

Welcome to Chattanooga, Fred Fletcher.

The Friday morning discovery of a body in a gravel parking lot a few hundred yards from Signal Mountain Road marked the third homicide city police have worked during the new police chief's first three days on the payroll.

Not to mention six nonfatal shootings in the city's single most violent week of 2014.

Between June 20 and Friday morning, investigators have crisscrossed the Scenic City mopping up blood; none more than Fletcher, who was sworn into office June 12 and began working well before he officially started on Wednesday.

Clad in a black uniform and wearing a somber expression, he arrived at the intersection of Delawanna Terrace and Pineville Road around 10:15 a.m. Friday. His staff was there before him, working to find clues about a body that was found just before 7 a.m. near a doctor's office that sits just up a hill from Signal Mountain Road.

Someone called police about 6:45 a.m. to report a suspicious object that turned out to be the body.

Police released no cause of death, but they confirmed it was a homicide and said the victim was a white male. Investigators said they have no reason to believe the death is related to the rash of shootings that has had Fletcher working day and night.

Fletcher has spent time with the family of shooting victims this week, but police said Thursday afternoon they were having difficulty locating relatives of the man found Friday.

"I came out here because violence in this community is very important to me, and this has been a tragic week up to and including today," Fletcher said from the crime scene. "So I came out here to learn what I could and offer my support."

If the victim died from a gunshot wound, it would be the city's 14th fatal shooting of 2014, which is the total number of fatal shootings recorded all of last year.

In the week of Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2014, police also worked three homicides -- all shooting deaths -- but they were not bombarded with other shootings in the process.

The discovery of a body Friday, combined with eight confirmed shootings of nine victims over a seven-day span, constitutes the most concentrated wave of documented gun violence in the city since a five-day period in late March and early April when police worked six shootings.

Contact staff writer David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.

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