FIRST ON 3: Homicides up, shootings down for 2014 in Chattanooga
The year is over and the numbers are in: Overall crime is down in Chattanooga but homicides are up 42 percent.
Mayor Andy Berke told Channel 3 Tuesday despite the increase in homicides, his Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI) is working and he points to an 18 percent decrease in shootings from 2013.
"That's not enough for my taste or I think anybody in the community's but the 18 percent reduction is better than a lot of other options,” Berke said.
As of December 30, Chattanooga has had 111 shooting incidents compared to 123 in 2013, according to CPD. That's a 10 percent decrease in overall shooting incidents.
The police department and Mayor Berke also point to fourth quarter numbers which show 50 percent fewer gang-related shooting incidents in 2014 compared to 2013's fourth quarter.
Of this year's 27 homicides, 15 involved group members. That is a slight increase from 2013's numbers which show 12 group members were involved in the city's homicides.
"We can't stop every shooting. What we can do is say, in the long run we want to see those numbers go down. We also know that sometimes you'll see spikes and there's not much we can do about it,” Berke said.
Most of the year's homicides happened in June, with five murders. It was also Chief Fletcher's first month on the job. There were five murders between June 25 and July 10.
"It sort of set the tone of why I came here: to try and help my officers help this community be and feel safe,” Fletcher said. "If violence happens to you, it's one too many so even these positive trends are unacceptable. We go to bed every night and wake up every day thinking of ways to make everyone safer in this community."
Five of the homicide victims in 2014 were female. A report released in September showed Tennessee ranked in the top 10 states for the number of women murdered by men.
Mayor Berke said domestic violence is one of the biggest issues in Chattanooga right now.
"It's something we're absolutely committed to helping people avoid,” Fletcher said. “It's very difficult to intervene with domestic violence during the fact, but that doesn't mean that we're going to neglect it."
The city's new Family Justice Center will open July 1, 2015. The location is yet to be determined. The center will serve as a one-stop-shop for victims of domestic violence. A typical family justice center includes law enforcement, court representation and district attorney's on site.
VICTIMS TO VIOLENCE
1. Jan. 5: Charles Edward Brown IV, 27, is stabbed to death after an argument inside a College Hill Courts residence. His ex-girlfriend, Monica Delk, is charged with criminal homicide.
2. Jan 20: Deontrey Southers, 13, was gunned down at his doorway at 1501 E. 50th Street. Police believe members of the 126 Athens Park Bloods came to the door looking for his mother's boyfriend who neighbors say is a Bounty Hunter Blood member. No arrest has been made.
3. Jan. 28: Raphael Sinclair White, 25, was gunned down at 2753 Sixth Avenue after a disorder. Police have arrested Rodney “Big Head” Jennings. White was a father of three children.
4. Feb. 1: Charles Allen Jones, 23, was shot to death on Fagan Street. Police say Jones was shot in the wrist and abdomen after an argument. Jones died on the way to the hospital. He left behind two sons. No arrest has been made.
5. Feb. 1: Robert Jacob McClure, 24, was shot and killed at his home on Hixson Avenue. Police have arrested Christopher Parker. He is accused of pulling the trigger. Family members say an argument over money led up to the shooting.
6. March 1: Warren Ransom, 33, was found dead on Hooker Road after someone saw his body. Authorities say he died from a gunshot wound after someone fired at close range. Police have arrested Marcus Birt on a charge of criminal homicide. Police believe Ransom was killed during a robbery.
7. March 21: Two-year-old Demarcus Bryant died from an overdose after a Fentanyl patch was placed on him. Jaquelne Escareno is charged with criminally negligent homicide.
8. April 8: Daniel Adams, 44, was found shot to death in an apartment at 3301 Pinewood Avenue. His girlfriend found his body. Police have arrested Eric Fitzgerald Williams in connection to his death.
9. April 11: Darius Eugene Hinton, 25, was found shot to death on Glenwood Avenue. His body was dumped down an embankment. No arrest has been made.
10. May 5: James Russell Fredrick, 55, was found shot to death inside his vehicle on Wheeler Avenue. No arrest has been made.
11. May 13: Police believe 20-year-old Keiara Patton was shot and killed by her boyfriend, 20-year-old Taylor Satterfield. He is charged with criminal homicide and aggravated domestic abuse. The couple has two children together.
12. May 22: DeSean Pierce, 23, was found with gunshot wounds to his head and leg on Appling Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No arrest has been made.
13. June 7: Inez Burney, 21, was strangled to death and left in a bathtub inside her residence at College Hill Courts. Police arrested JaMichael Harris in connection to her death. He is accused of attacking her for money and then staging her death to look like a drowning.
14. June 8: Frances Smith, 40, also known as the “Candy Lady,” was found shot multiple times in the chest. She was found dead inside her home on Woodland View Circle in Emma Wheeler Homes. Police arrested her boyfriend Cashman Perkins in connection to her death.
15. June 25: Cedric Kentrell Mikes, 33, was found shot to death on South Terrance inside a car. No arrest has been made.
16. June 25: Charles James King, 42, was found shot to death on Bennett Avenue inside a car. No arrest has been made.
17. June 27: Wesley A. Eaves, 49, died from asphyxiation. His body was found mutilated on Delawanna Terrace. No arrest has been made.
18. July 5: Steven Douglas Bell, 65, was found under the Workman Avenue Bridge. He was found severely beaten. Police believe his body was thrown from the bridge afterwards. A medical examiner's report shows he died from blunt force trauma to the torso. No arrest has been made.
19. July 10: Dominic LaVon Wright, 22 was found shot to death at 2108 Foust Street. Police believe the shooting was gang related. No arrest has been made.
20. July 27: Jeffrey Jackson, 23, died after he was stabbed in the left side of his chest at East Lake Courts near 2525 Sixth Avenue Court. Police arrested Wendell “Dooney” Mitchell on charges of first degree murder and unlawful carrying or possessing of a weapon.
21. Aug. 27: Tatiana Emerson, 3, was sexually assaulted and severely beaten before she died. Rhasean Lowry, 34, brought the child to the hospital claiming that she fell down a flight of stairs while staying at a hotel on Bonny Oaks Drive. Nearly 50 bruises covered her body. She died from blunt force trauma sustaining injuries to head and torso.
22. Sept. 7: Jasmine Akins, 19, was shot to death after leaving a night club, Chocolate City Lounge. She was shot just across the street from the club located at 1846 Market Street. Two other people were injured in the shooting. No arrest has been made.
23. Oct. 20: Apprentice D. Berry, 20, was shot and killed at the Woodlawn Apartments off of Wilson Street. He died from gunshot wounds to the chest. No arrest has been made.
24. Oct. 22: Police found Kenny Breylon Hall, 24, on October 22 with a life-threatening gunshot wound at the Shepherd Hill Apartments. He was taken to a hospital where he died. Witnesses say a man opened fire in the parking lot of that apartment complex but no arrests have been made.
25. Oct. 27: Terrence Bivens, 28, was shot and killed on Central Avenue on October 27. Police said the shooting was gang-related and U.S. Marshals arrested 29-year-old Ladaquis Southers in Atlanta and charged him with Bivens' murder.
26. Nov. 11: Kenneth Johnson, 59, was a local pastor in Chattanooga who was found beaten to death November 11 in a ditch on Blackford Street. Police arrested a couple and charged them with criminal homicide. Steven Kelly, 22, and his girlfriend Jordan Craig, 26, told police they met Johnson to buy drugs when something went wrong.
27. Dec. 15: Amy Bates was arrested and charged with the December 15 shooting that resulted in the death of 38-year-old Paul Brian Rector.