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A Chattanooga Police Officer wraps up crime scene tape that blocked off a portion of Stanfiel Street Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Police were investigating a shooting that happened in the 1700 block of Stanfiel Street Wednesday afternoon.
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An investigator lifts up crime scene tape for a crime scene vehicle can leave Wednesday, June 21, 2017, on the 1700 block of Stanfiel Street in Chattanooga, Tenn. Detectives were investigating in and around a home on Stanfiel Street.

The men found shot to death in Highland Memorial Gardens are being remembered by family members and loved ones who spoke about their grief Wednesday as funeral preparations were being made.

Thomas Holder, 20, and Rayshann Underwood, 17, were found dead in the cemetery Tuesday morning by former Chattanooga City Councilman Manny Rico. Both died from apparent gunshot wounds, and police are now investigating it as a gang-motivated incident.

"He was just a very nice person. He always had a smile on his face," Angela Deloach said about Underwood, her godson. "You had to really, really push him to do anything."

She said she knew he was associating with people connected to gang activity, but he was doing well in school and had ambitions.

"Every child has their ups and downs," she said. "But I don't think he was a bad kid at all."

Jumoke Johnson, a gang kingpin who was shot and killed in another double homicide in January, was buried in Highland Memorial Gardens, according to his obituary. Mourners took to Facebook after the bodies were discovered, allegedly left near his grave.

Police have not identified a suspect in this most recent double homicide.

Speaking on the gang violence that has plagued Chattanooga for decades and has now claimed someone close to her, Deloach said she's doesn't see an end to it in sight, although she longs for one.

"It's not going anywhere," she said. "I really honestly, truly pray every day that they stop killing each other and stop killing period.

"Going to jail and stuff for these guys ain't teaching them nothing. They come out and do the same old stuff. It's too much out here."

Kyair Jones, a friend to Underwood, posted on Facebook saying Underwood would tell her to stop crying about his death if he were around.

"It Hurt Me So Bad Cause They Left Big Bra Laying There Like He Was Nothing," she wrote. "Y'all Done Hurt Us With This One My Stomach Hurt Everytime I See Yo Picture."

On Holder's Facebook, his sister posted a message thanking family and friends for their words of support since the killings.

"I cant stop crying i wanted to tell everybody thank you for yall condolences and to keep us in yall prayers, this is his sister on his page," she wrote. "I wish it was me and not you bro."

The investigation into the double homicide is ongoing and police have set up a tip line for people to provide information by calling 423-643-5100. All callers can remain anonymous, and tips go directly to investigators.

On Wednesday afternoon police were investigating another shooting, this time on the 1700 block of Stanfiel Street.

At 3 p.m., the street was still taped off and detectives were investigating in and around a home. A neighbor who asked to remain unidentified for fear of retaliatory violence said she heard gunfire, but didn't see anything.

"I was cooking and all I heard was a gunshot," she said. "I asked my children and they said they heard it too."

She said she's unaccustomed to violence on her block, and her neighbors are upstanding citizens.

"For the most part, everyone over here are decent people," she said. "We're all hardworking people trying to make lives for ourselves."

The victim has been identified as Cortney Nelson, 32, male.

Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at egienapp@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731. Follow him on Twitter @emmettgienapp.

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