• What: Loving My Community picnic
• When: 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 16
• Where: On the East Lake field
• Featuring: Food, music, a guest speaker and fun events, like horse rides for neighborhood kids
Residents of East Lake Courts brought out bleach and flowers Monday.
Flowers to create a memorial for Jeffery "Hot Dog" Jackson, the outgoing 23-year-old who was stabbed and died early Sunday morning.
And bleach to scrub away his blood.
Jackson was stabbed in the chest at 2525 Sixth Avenue Court just before 3 a.m. Sunday, and then died at a local hospital, according to Chattanooga police. That's the same address where an 18-year-old accidentally shot himself in the leg and died on July 8, but the two deaths are unrelated, police said.
A small group of neighbors played music and laid flowers at the foot of a little wooden cross Monday, tucking the roses between teddy bears and beer bottles.
"You didn't have to know him; he'd say something to make you smile, to brighten your day," said friend Newnew Sexton. "His favorite word was turn up, meaning, let's have a good time, let's enjoy each other, be around each other. There was a lot of laughter."
Jackson didn't live in East Lake Courts, but he did visit frequently, she added, often biking through the neighborhood. He would often sleep on her couch when he visited, and he apparently tried to get into her home after he was stabbed, because her porch was covered with his blood when she woke up Sunday morning.
Jackson's death is the 20th homicide in Chattanooga this year, one more than the 19 homicides recorded in all of 2013 but still well below the peak years. In 1991, for example, 49 people were slain in Chattanooga.
"This community has become numb to the violence," said East Lake Courts resident Latoya Holloman.
She's been working on a Stop the Violence campaign, organizing community events and aiming to keep kids out of trouble. Her group is called Loving My Community, and they have a community picnic coming up on Aug. 16.
The evening will be dedicated to Jackson. Neither woman is sure exactly what happened Sunday morning before he was fatally stabbed. Rumors and gossip are flying through the community, but for Sexton, it almost doesn't matter.
"It happened, he's gone, and we're trying to move past it and remember him," she said. She paused for a long moment, and looked around and added more softly, "It's a beautiful day."
Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or firstname.lastname@example.org with tips or story ideas.