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Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy speaks with Evette Hughes, the mother of victim Keniqua Hughes, as Keniqua's grandfather, Anthony Lofton, right, looks on. Murphy made an appeal in the Westside neighborhood to gain community assistance in the killings of several women in the area. The Grove Street news conference was held Tuesday.

More than six months after the shootings that claimed the lives of two Chattanooga women and left five others injured, the Chattanooga Police Department's new chief, Celeste Murphy, held a news conference at Grove Street on Tuesday to declare her commitment to solving the case and ask the community for help.

"I'm committed to bringing justice to those who carry out such selfish and cowardly acts," Murphy said. "CPD is a part of this community, and our investigators have been and will continue working to bring this case to resolution. It's going to take all of us together to be able to solve this case.

"I'm asking you today to speak up to rise up these women and send a powerful message to those who brought discord to this community with violence," Murphy said.

Investigators are urging witnesses to come forward and provide as much information and evidence as possible.

Chattanooga Police Capt. Jonathon Chambers, the commander over the violent crimes unit, said that any information provided would be helpful.

"We are in need of any and all pictures and videos that were taken during the West Side reunion that took place here on Sept. 25 last year," Chambers said. "While some may think that these images and videos are useless, they may be exactly what we need to be able to provide justice for the families of the victims of this senseless act."

Kendrick and Evette Hughes, whose 21-year-old daughter, Keniqua, died that night, said this was a step forward.

"I believe we moved in a positive direction," Evette Hughes said. "I think we'll see some results."

A series of shootings occurred throughout Chattanooga Sept. 25, leaving several people injured and three dead. Jailen Donyelle Moore Wofford, 21, was shot around 11 a.m. at the Citgo gas station at 3410 Campbell St. Wofford died at the hospital.

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Police chief asks for community help in solving Grove Street shootings

Later that day, another shooting took place on Old Mission Road, leaving a 45-year-old man injured. That evening, a shootout on Grove Street left Hughes and LaBrecia Dews, 37, dead. One of the Grove Street victims was 14.

Community members mobilized to raise funds and awareness of the shootings. Leaders raised $10,000, and Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly matched that amount, bringing the reward to $20,000.

"Every Chattanoogan should feel safe walking out their door regardless of their ZIP code," Kelly said during the December news conference announcing the reward.

Chattanooga police told the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January that people are afraid to come forward.

"Please know that anyone wishing to remain anonymous will absolutely remain anonymous," Chambers said. "We need the courageous members of this community to send us anything and everything that you have, regardless of how insignificant you feel it may be."

The community can send anonymous tips, photos and videos through the new Atlas One app or send an email to homicidetips@chattanooga.gov

Contact La Shawn Pagán at lpagan@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter @LaShawnPagan.

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