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Scene at 5003 Florida Ave

A 47-year-old man was shot to death Monday at a home in St. Elmo, according to police.

Officers found Howard Simmons dead inside the home at 5003 Florida Ave. around 8:30 a.m. while responding to a 'person shot' call, according to police.

Simmons was shot at least one time, according to police.

Investigators quickly detained and questioned a person of interest in the case. That person, who has not been identified, had not been charged or arrested by press time Monday.

Investigators have not said what evidence led them to detain the person of interest. However, police do not believe the shooting was gang-related and said there is no threat to the public.

Neighbors said an older man who lives in the home is a friendly neighbor who often fixes cars for others. They gathered on their porches outside the crime scene in the usually quiet neighborhood Monday morning, talking about what might have happened.

The shooting marks the 31st homicide in Chattanooga so far this year, Times Free Press records show. That number could change if the shooting of 78-year-old George Garth, which was initially labeled a homicide, turns out to be a suicide. Police said last week the manner of Garth's death is still undetermined.

There were 30 homicides in Chattanooga in all of 2015 and 27 in all of 2014, records show.

So far this year, 18 black men have been killed as well as eight black women. One white man, two white women and a Hispanic woman have been slain. Police did not immediately release Simmons' race on Monday.

Killings of black men far outpace killings of any other race in Chattanooga. Between 2011 and 2015, statistics showed that, in cases where race could be determined, 80 percent of the people killed were black.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@times freepress.com with tips or story ideas.

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