An upholstered pink chair sat on the curb outside a home on E. 41st Street, its fabric splattered with dark blood a day after 35-year-old Jermichael Bowling was shot and killed inside.
Police said they are following solid leads in Bowling's slaying. He was shot multiple times at about 5:30 a.m. Sunday, according to police. Neighbors reported hearing six shots in rapid succession early in the morning.
"We've interviewed two or three witnesses from the community who have given us some solid leads to run behind," Lt. Glenn Scruggs said. "We don't have a direct suspect right now, but we're on the right trail."
Bowling's killing is the 23rd homicide of 2016 in Chattanooga. At this point in 2015, the city had seen 18 homicides.
Scruggs said police don't have any evidence that Bowling's death is connected to a rash of gang violence that mushroomed last week after 24-year-old Marquise Jackson was shot and killed in Alton Park.
Jackson's death was followed by two triple shootings and the shooting of a toddler, incidents that police said were all tied to an ongoing gang war between two rival groups.
Police records show that Bowling was a validated gang member, but it's not clear whether that membership contributed to his death.
"It could be a thousand different things," Scruggs said.
Bowling had a criminal record in Hamilton County that dated back to 2000, records show. In 2010 and 2011, he was twice charged with possession of crack cocaine for resale, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in both cases.
Investigators are considering whether narcotics may have played a part in his killing.
"We're looking at that angle very hard," Scruggs said. "That's one path we're running down right now."
Bowling was last arrested in March, charged with criminal trespassing.
Bowling's friends said he was a good guy, a caring father who enjoyed hanging out with his friends and always kept people laughing. He worked at Waffle House and had lived in the house on E. 41st Street for at least the last several months, neighbors said.
"He had a good heart and was misunderstood a lot," said friend Courtney Anderson. "He made mistakes, but nothing that [meant he] deserved to be gunned down in cold blood."
On Sunday evening, Bowling's family and friends held a memorial at the home where he was killed. They wrote "RIP" in red ink on the step, pushed fake carnations into the front yard and lit candles on the stoop.
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