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Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher, left, and Lt. Glenn Scruggs answers questions from the media Wednesday afternoon following a suspected homicide in the building directly behind them in College Hill Courts in this file photo.

Chattanooga police officers arrived at College Hill Courts on Wednesday around 3:30 p.m. to investigate the third homicide that has occurred in the city within the past five days.

Officers hung yellow police tape and talked to neighbors, as they worked to investigate the death of a black woman whose body was found in a second-floor apartment of one of the red brick apartment buildings.

The body has been identified as 56-year-old Rosa Chatman. She was found during a routine inspection by Chattanooga Housing Authority employees, who immediately notified authorities, according to police Chief Fred Fletcher.

"There appear to be signs of a struggle," Fletcher said while on the scene Wednesday. "We are treating this case as a homicide."

At the time, police were not clear how long the body had been there, and began working to thoroughly process the scene.

Fletcher said the community was being extremely helpful by providing information and seemed eager to work with police to make their neighborhood a safer place.

The chief was noticeably distraught as he walked through the Courts, saying that any loss of life is a tragedy and affects the entire city.

"We are very, very sympathetic to anyone's loss," he said. "A loss to one of us is a loss to all of us. And it is important that everyone be treated with respect and dignity."

College Hill Courts resident Karen Hughes said she was shocked when she saw investigators outside her neighbor's apartment building on Wednesday.

"It makes me sick when stuff like this happens," she said from her front porch. "I think it's getting worse around here. I mean children are getting killed. Women are getting killed."

Hughes cradled her 2-year-old grandson in her lap and said she fears for his future.

"Police do a good job watching out for us," she said. " ... But the kids need something to do, to keep them busy, to stop this violence."

Many of Hughes' neighbors mingled about the Courts watching investigators. They stood on the sidewalk and on porches murmuring to each other as kids played in the muddy grass.

"Life just isn't fair," one neighbor said.

"This is getting outrageous," said another.

There have been eight homicides this year -- three of which occurred in the past five days.

Robert Rutledge, 66, was killed on Saturday in his apartment at 404 Tunnel Blvd. And 16-year-old Kentrell Provens was shot to death while walking at 825 N. Germantown Road on Sunday.

Police have arrested two teenagers for Rutledge's death. Gary Toney Jr., 19, and Javonte Davis, 17, are both being held without bond.

Officers have not arrested any suspects in Provens' death, and appealed for the public's help on Monday.

Staff writer Shelly Bradbury contributed to this report.

Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at kendi.anderson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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