After a Sunday morning slaying, the homicide rate in Chattanooga is on pace to match last year's total.
Kendre Marke Allen, 20, died around 1:45 a.m., when police say someone in a vehicle opened fire on a car he was riding in near the 300 block of Spring Creek Road in Brainerd.
Officers heard the gunshots and spotted the vehicle Allen was in speeding away. They followed it to the hospital, where "attempts were made to save the victim's life," a Chattanooga police news release states.
The driver told them what happened, but didn't identify the shooter or his or her vehicle, according to the Sunday morning release.
Allen's was the ninth homicide of the year, matching the number of homicides to date in 2016. Last year ended with a total of 33 slayings — up from 27 in 2014 and 30 in 2015.facebook
Allen also was the eighth person shot in Chattanooga in the last 2-1/2 weeks. On March 23, Antonio Baldwin and William Daniel were shot in the Pinewood Apartment complex. Baldwin died from the shooting. That same night, someone shot Eric Cal in the 1000 block of Jarvis Avenue.
On March 29, a man and a 16-year-old girl were shot on Clio Avenue. The girl died. Another man was shot that same day, in the 2300 block of East Main Street. Two days later, someone shot David Green in the 600 block of West 38th Street, near Alton Park. Police arrested a 16-year-old in that case, who also has been charged in the Clio Avenue shootings. Police have not released his identity.
In a mid-March roundup, local and federal law enforcement agencies arrested 54 people with outstanding warrants for violent crimes. Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said on March 16 that officers hoped the mass of arrests would stop an uptick in shootings, as predicted by the agency's crime analysts.
"We take those times very seriously," Fletcher said. "You are in the midst of one of those anticipated spikes."
It's impossible to know what would have happened without the roundup, though an uptick in shootings occurred anyway.
Allen, the victim of Sunday's shooting, was a gang member, according to Chattanooga police. He also survived a previous attack on his life.
On March 26, 2015, according to Times Free Press archives, O'Shae Kadaris Smith shot Allen in the hip in East Lake Courts. Police believed the shooter was motivated by a gang rivalry. Smith is a member of the Gangster Disciples; Allen was a member of the Rollin 40s Crips.
A month later, Allen testified during Smith's preliminary hearing in Hamilton County General Sessions Court. Allen didn't describe seeing the person who shot him.
But of Smith, he said: "We grew up together in the same neighborhood."
At the time, Allen's testimony was a symbol of a strengthening bond between the police department and the community often exposed to violent crimes.
"When I got here a year ago, a guy like him wouldn't have shown up," said Fletcher, who sat through the hearing with Paul Smith, the city's public safety coordinator at the time.
Ultimately, Smith's attempted murder charge was dismissed as part of a plea deal in which he received a prison sentence for aggravated assault. He is scheduled for release from Trousdale Turner Correctional Center on Aug. 10, according to Tennessee Department of Correction records.
Allen had his own history of arrests. In August 2015, he pleaded guilty to three counts of assault, receiving a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in jail. In November 2016, he pleaded guilty to evading arrest and received a suspended sentence.
In January, police arrested him on charges of possession of cocaine for resale, possession of drug paraphernalia and tampering with or fabricating evidence. He was out of jail on bond when he died.
After word spread about the shooting Sunday, some friends paid tribute online.
"Fly high to another classmate rip Kendre Allen," a woman with the handle @Crownbeauty_19 wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening.
On Sunday afternoon, Chattanooga police investigated another shooting. Officers responded to a 911 call around 2:21 p.m., when a 16-year-old in the 2600 block of East 21st Street reported that a 13-year-old boy had been shot accidentally.
Master Sgt. Ernest Craw, on the scene of the shooting, said the boy had been hit near the right ear. Investigators were still piecing together whether he shot himself, or if someone else in the house accidentally hit the trigger. Paramedics rushed the boy to a local hospital, where he was in "critical, but stable condition" as of 7:15 p.m. Sunday.
"Investigators found no evidence to indicate this was anything other than an accident," CPD spokeswoman Elisa Myzal said in a release.
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.