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Law enforcement investigate after two bodies were found in Highland Memorial Gardens off of Shepherd Road on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The investigation is being treated as a homicide.

This is a developing story and was updated June 20 at 11:55 p.m. with more information.

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Police investigating two bodies found at Highland Memorial Gardens.

UPDATE: Chattanooga police say Tuesday's double homicide is being investigated as a gang-motivated incident. 

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ORIGINAL STORY: Hours after police announced they were investigating as a double homicide the shootings of two men whose bodies were lying on the grass found in a North Brainerd cemetery, family and friends gathered in mourning outside the front gate.

They filled an empty lot on Shepherd Road across from Highland Memorial Park, bringing out water bottles and lawn chairs, just yards from where several police cars blocked the cemetery entrance. Some cried together while loved ones consoled them. Others placed their heads in their hands.

"They took my son away from me," one woman screamed between broken sobs. "They took my boy."

Police did not identify the victims Tuesday, but family members identified them as Thomas Holder, 20, and Rayshann Underwood, 17.

Jumoke Johnson, a gang kingpin who was shot and killed in another double homicide in January, was buried in Highland Memorial Gardens, according to his obituary. Mourners took to Facebook after the bodies were discovered to allege they were left near "mokey grave."

"I cannot confirm that it is gang-related at this time," wrote police spokesman Rob Simmons in an email Tuesday afternoon. "Any relationship between other gravesites in the proximity of the crime scene are part of the investigation and will not be released at this time."

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Law enforcement investigate after two bodies were found in Highland Memorial Gardens off of Shepherd Road on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The investigation is being treated as a homicide.

Manny Rico, a former city councilman and the owner of a monument engraving company, confirmed he was the one who discovered the bodies Tuesday morning.

He said a customer had called to ask him to check on a monument in the cemetery, and as he was driving to the monument a little after 9:30 a.m., he saw two men lying out in the open. At first, he thought they had simply passed out or were sleeping, but they didn't respond when he honked his horn.

"When they didn't wake up, I looked and saw the caretaker on the hill and went up to him," Rico said. "He went down there and checked on them and said, 'They're not asleep, they're dead.'"

Shortly after police responded to the scene Tuesday, Simmons confirmed it was being investigated as a double homicide and said cadets from the Chattanooga Police Academy were being brought over to sweep the cemetery for evidence.

"The difficulty lies in the sheer expanse of the grounds," he said.

Angela Deloach stood in the shade near the cemetery entrance Tuesday afternoon. She said Underwood was her godson. Her granddaughter had called her Tuesday and told her to get to the cemetery because Underwood had been found dead.

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Law enforcement investigate after two bodies were found in Highland Memorial Gardens off of Shepherd Road on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The investigation is being treated as a homicide.

"I didn't want to believe it," she said. "That's just something hard to swallow."

Now she's waiting for answers to questions about the circumstances of his death.

"What happened? Why did it happen?" she said.

In 2016, Holder was placed on probation after pleading guilty in Hamilton County Criminal Court to providing an illegal firearm with which a juvenile was shot in the face while taking a photo.

The investigation into the double homicide is ongoing and police have set up a tip line for people to provide information by calling 423-643-5100. All callers can remain anonymous and tips go directly to investigators.

Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at egienapp@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731. Follow him on Twitter @emmettgienapp.

Stay with the Times Free Press as more information becomes available.

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