The suspect and victim in a deadly shooting on Jan. 27 had been in an argument six hours before the shooting, according to Hamilton County court records.
Jerry Couch, 56, called Chattanooga police around 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 26 after his nephew, 35-year-old Gary Skiles Jr., pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot him during an argument, court records state. Couch then fled the scene.
Officers took out warrants for aggravated domestic assault, as Skiles and Couch lived at the same home in the 3600 block of 6th Avenue, court records show.
Around 5:40 a.m., Skiles allegedly returned.
Police received a "shots fired" call at around 5:43 a.m. The call was upgraded to a shooting as police were on their way to the scene.
Once they arrived, they found Couch unresponsive in bed, court records state. Emergency personnel pronounced him dead at the scene.
Evidence suggested the shooter shot from outside the building and that the shooter was familiar with the area where the victim would be at the time he was shot, investigators noted in the criminal affidavit. Multiple 9mm shell casings were found at the scene.
By 10:23 a.m., police learned Skiles had been detained after being located in a red pickup truck behind a home in Rossville, Georgia, court records state. Officers noted Skiles resisted their efforts to remove him from the truck and that a 9mm semi-automatic pistol was found in the driver's side floorboard of the truck.
Ballistic evidence later connected that gun to the shell casings found at the scene, according to court records.
Skiles was taken to the Walker County Jail, where Chattanooga homicide investigators met with him.
Initially, Skiles denied shooting a firearm or being at the scene of the shooting. But he then admitted to being there and that he shot into the ground "in an attempt to scare away a dog," investigators noted in charging documents.
Skiles was then booked into Walker County Jail and charged with aggravated domestic assault and criminal homicide. He was later extradited to Hamilton County, where he is due to appear in court on Feb. 3. That date, though, could be reset due to a backlog of cases created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Tennessee Supreme Court's order to limit in-person court proceedings.
So far, Chattanooga has seen three homicides in 2021. At this point last year, that number was the same.
Chattanooga police ask anyone with information about the incident to call the homicide tip line at 423-643-5100 or submit a tip via the Chattanooga Police Department's mobile app. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
East Ridge Middle School faces backlash after 'All Lives Matter' announced as Black History Month theme