Sylvia Peoples-Fuller stood on the sun-heated pavement just outside the yellow crime tape looped tight around her son's apartment and waited.
She'd already gotten the phone call, the one she'd thought was a joke at first.
Then a friend drove her from work to the crime scene, where she walked through the crowd of neighbors sitting on porches and standing in tight circles, talking in hushed voices about the city's latest killing and shooing kids away from the tape.
Investigators snapped photos and ducked in and out of the scene, talking on cellphones and waving folders.
And all Peoples-Fuller could do was wait.
"I just want to get him away of here," she said, standing close to the tape, still dressed in her scrubs. "I'm just dead inside. But I know as soon as they bring him out, it's going to hit me."
Percy Allen IV, 20, was shot and killed inside his home in East Lake Courts at 2800 Fourth Ave. around 1 p.m. Tuesday. He is the 25th person to be killed in Chattanooga so far this year.
Peoples-Fuller said her son was home watching his 2-year-old daughter when someone came inside and shot him, perhaps as part of a robbery. Police said Tuesday the motive in the killing is unclear.
Peoples-Fuller believes Allen's daughter saw her father's death.
Family and friends said Allen didn't get into fights with other people and that he usually kept to himself. He loved to draw and laugh, Peoples-Fuller said.
"He's been drawing ever since he could pick up a pen," she said.
Her husband, a city garbage collector, swings by East Lake Courts every Friday to collect the trash. She'd laugh at Allen because he would always forget to put his trash out and have to chase after the truck, she said.
"We'd call him the day before and say, 'You know tomorrow is garbage day,' but he'd still forget," she said and smiled.
Police did not have any suspects in the case Tuesday afternoon, Chattanooga police Capt. Nathan Vaughn said.
"Everybody is out here all day, every day but nobody knows nothing," said neighbor Princess Gearing, shaking her head.
Vaughn asked anyone who saw or heard what happened to call police.
"Someone, I'm sure, knows what happened," he said.
Peoples-Fuller hopes someone steps forward to tell the truth.
"Whomever did this to him — I pray he won't be one of those unsolved cases," she said.
Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or email@example.com with tips or story ideas.