Drive-by shooting kills 71-year-old Chattanooga man inside his home

A photo shows bullet holes in the window of a former Chattanooga city employee who was killed by a high-powered rifle during a drive-by shooting.

A 71-year-old retired Chattanooga city worker was shot and killed while in bed in his home just after 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to police.

The shooter or shooters opened fire from the street with a high-power rifle, police Chief Fred Fletcher said. The bullets slammed through the house's front windows and struck Orlandus Metcalfe, who was inside his home in the 2600 block of Taylor Street.

Metcalf, who retired from the city's Public Works department, was likely not the intended target, Fletcher said. Metcalf's grandson is a validated gang member, and the shooters are also likely gang members, he said.

Fletcher today vowed to track down the shooter.

"We will not allow the murder of a 71-year-old neighbor to rest," he said.

But he said that police don't have much to go on in the drive-by shooting, and pleaded with community members to provide any information about the shooting to police.

"We have very few leads and very little evidence in this heinous crime," he said.

Police found two sets of shell casings near the crime scene - one from a high-powered rifle and one from a pistol - but it's unclear whether the pistol shell casings are related to Wednesday's attack.

The rifle used to fire into the house was more powerful than the one used to kill five service members on July 16, Fletcher said. He added that police are taking extra measures to try to prevent retaliation, and that investigators are following all available leads.

Metcalf's wife was home during the shooting but was not injured. No one answered the door at the home on Thursday, although a well-wisher left baked goods and a note on the porch.

"Prayers for your family, from our community," the note read. "God bless you."

Neighbors said it's fairly unusual to hear gunshots on their street, but that the neighborhood is routinely unsafe. One woman said her home has been broken into five times in three years, and the most recent break-in was just a few days ago. She asked not to be identified for fear of her safety.

"I hate this," she said. "I hate it. [This neighborhood] is quiet, but it's sneaky."