Every morning, except Thanksgiving and Christmas, Wonsik No would unlock the door of the New East Side Market around 9 a.m. and prep the small convenience store for the day, neighbors say.
The 51-year-old man would stock the store's shelves with toilet paper and packaged food and count the lottery tickets before opening for business at 10 a.m. This was usually around the time that Laquette Colvin would walk the two blocks from her house to buy a cold beer from the market.
Colvin said visiting the store was a part of her daily routine for the past four years, and on Monday she was shocked to turn the corner onto Fourth Avenue and see police tape and officers swarming the store's parking lot. As Colvin walked closer to the store she heard her neighbors whisper. She heard that No had been shot and he was lying dead inside the front door of the store.
"I've never seen things so tragic," Colvin said Monday afternoon from the steps of her front porch. "I think [No] really cared for the neighborhood."
Police arrived at the New East Side Market around 9:45 a.m. on Labor Day after receiving a report of a person shot. The market sits on the corner of Fourth Avenue and 28th Street, directly across from the Salvation Army and the East Lake Courts public housing development.
Detectives wandered through the development questioning residents and witnesses, and Chattanooga Police Department Chief Fred Fletcher and District Attorney Neal Pinkston offered their condolences.
The number of total shootings and homicides in the city is at about the same level as the last two years — about 90 incidents. No's death is the twenty-first homicide in Chattanooga this year.
Police did not release the names of any suspects on Monday night, but said they are "actively investigating" the shooting.
Colvin said she thinks her friend's death was the result of a "senseless crime."
"If [those who shot him] had asked for anything he would have just given it to them," Colvin said. "I'm a personal testimony."
As Colvin sat on the concrete steps of her porch smoking a cigarette and watching her four children play, she recalled all the times No helped her out when she was short on change.
"Each time he would say to me 'you're good,' and I knew he cared," Colvin said. "He really enjoyed serving the neighborhood. Whoever done this crime took away a good person."
Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at 423-757-6592 or firstname.lastname@example.org