Eurica Leslie, left, and Chaztus Whaley
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LaRhonda Spence, 25, was shot to death at a home at 3205 Seventh Avenue in 2015. Contributed photo.

A 25-year-old woman who was killed on Oct. 5 was attacked by a fired employee hours before she was slain, records show.

That fired employee, Eurica Leslie, 28, has been named as a person of interest in the killing of LaRhonda Spence, but has not been charged in her death. Chaztus Whaley, 20, also has been named a person of interest in the case.

Spence worked as a manager at a Wendy's restaurant on Bonny Oaks Drive. She called police on Oct. 5 to report an assault, records show, and an officer arrived at about 7:40 p.m. to take her report.

Spence told police she had fired Leslie, who also worked as a manager at the fast-food restaurant, and that Leslie tried to leave the building with the restaurant's keys.

Spence blocked Leslie's path by pulling a door shut, and she said that's when Leslie began to fight her and dragged her outside the restaurant. Spence told police Leslie wrapped her right arm around her throat and tried to choke her.

She said she had trouble breathing during the assault.

After the fight, Spence told the officer she went to the restaurant's back office to try to pull surveillance video of the incident. Leslie came into the office and again attacked her, Spence said, slamming her head into a desk and pulling her hair.

Other Wendy's employees had to break up the fight, according to court records. 

Leslie told the Times Free Press that she was not the aggressor in the incident and said the charges against her are false. 

"The whole story is fabricated," she said. "It's all lies."

She and Whaley declined to speak further, citing the ongoing investigation. They also said they fear retaliation. 

Police said video surveillance showed Leslie pulling and choking Spence.

A half-hour after Spence told police about the attack, she was shot at a home on Seventh Avenue and died. Neighbors said they heard loud arguing before a handful of shots rang out at 8:09 p.m.

Spence was shot in the back with the bullet entering her left shoulder, according to a preliminary report from the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's office.

Police would not say Wednesday whether Leslie or Whaley were at the home on Seventh Avenue when the shooting occurred. Neither has been charged in the homicide, but both were arrested on aggravated assault charges two days after Spence was killed.

Leslie was charged in connection with the incident at Wendy's. Whaley was charged for allegedly pointing a gun at another man and threatening to kill him on Oct. 3. The man in that case told police he'd been arguing with Whaley about some stolen items.

Police said Wednesday they are working with the Hamilton County district attorney general's office to determine appropriate charges as the investigation goes forward.

There have been 31 homicides in Chattanooga so far this year, Times Free Press records show. Spence was the 29th person to be killed.


Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or with tips or story ideas. Follow @ShellyBradbury.