UPDATE: 17-year-old murder suspect makes first appearance in cou - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: 17-year-old murder suspect makes first appearance in court

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Scene on West Main St. Scene on West Main St.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Cortez Sims, the 17-year-old charged with shooting four people and killing one of them  made his first appearance in court Monday.  

Juvenile Court Judge Philyaw did not grant bond for Sims.  He goes back to court later this month.  Sims will also be in court in February to determine whether to try him in juvenile court or to send his case on to criminal court. 


PREVIOUS STORY:  One day after being added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's Top Ten Most Wanted list, Cortez Sims has been arrested in Knoxville. 17-year-old  Sims was taken into custody Friday at 3423 Sevier Avenue in Knoxville. 

The arrest was a joint effort with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Chattanooga Police Department. 

He was wanted by the three agencies on charges of First Degree Murder, three counts of Aggravated Assault, Reckless Endangerment, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Possessing a Firearm during the Commission of a Dangerous Felony. 

Sims has been charged with the January 7th murder of Tolitha Bowman and the shootings of Marcell Christopher, Bianca Horton and one-year-old Zoey Horton at 773 W. Main Street in Chattanooga.

The family of victim Tolitha Bowman released a statement saying :

"On Tuesday, our family lost our daughter to another senseless act of violence. Tolitha had a smile that would light up a room and an even bigger personality.  The family would like to thank the community for the outpouring of support that we have received and we are extremely grateful to the Chattanooga Police Department.  We ask that you continue to pray for our family, the surviving victims, and our city as a whole.  If you would like to make donations to the final burial expenses for Tolitha Bowman, please make donations out to John P. Franklin Funeral Home 1101 Dodds Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404."

Sims is being transported to the Chattanooga Police Department and will be booked at a later time. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga Police tell Channel 3 that the search for Cortez “AWAX” Sims is over.  

Sims was taken into custody by multiple agencies earlier Friday.


PREVIOUS STORY: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has added Cortez Sims of Chattanooga to the state's Top Ten Most Wanted List. Sims is wanted by the Chattanooga Police Department, the TBI and the U.S. Marshals Service on charges of First Degree Murder, three counts of Aggravated Assault, Reckless Endangerment, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Possessing a Firearm during the Commission of a Dangerous Felony. Sims has been charged with the January 7th murder of Tolitha Bowman and the shootings of Marcell Christopher, Bianca Horton and one-year-old Zoey Horton Chattanooga.

Sims, 17, is an African American male with black hair and black eyes. He's 5 feet 11, and weighs 165 pounds. He has a tattoo on his chest that reads “Loyalty First”. Sims is an active member of the Athens Park Bloods and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Cortez Sims is urged to call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463). There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
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It was another night of violence in the Scenic City. Chattanooga Police are investigating three separate shootings. One of the shootings claimed the life of a 20-year-old woman and an injured a one-year-old baby.

The first shooting happened along 4th Avenue at East 26th Street around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday. A 19-year-old man was shot as he walked down the street. He survived. Police are still looking for the shooter.

Police also responded to Hickory Woods Lane in Hixson around three o'clock Wednesday morning where investigators believe a man shot his brother in self-defense.

But it was a shooting on West Main Street in College Hill Courts, in downtown Chattanooga, where the 20-year-old woman died.

Police say a 17-year-old boy, with ties to a Chattanooga gang, is wanted in the shooting at College Hill Courts. Police Chief Fred Fletcher says the department is devoting as much manpower as possible to catch the teen.

"It's sad. People are not realizing it's somebody else's life you're taking away," says Antonio Daves, who lives at College Hill Courts.

Antonio Daves woke up around one o'clock Wednesday morning to see flashing lights in College Hill Courts. Chattanooga Police say a 17-year-old gang member knocked on the door of a home and opened fire.

"The surviving adult victims were able to identify the shooter as Cortez 'AWAX' Sims," says Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher.

Sims is accused of shooting four people inside. Twenty-year-old Tolitha Bowman died from her injuries. A bullet also struck a one-year-old baby girl, who is listed in critical condition. The baby's mother survived with non-life threatening injuries. An 18-year-old man also was hit. He is listed in critical condition.

"We are personally and organizationally outraged by the violent actions of this brutal criminal," says Fletcher.

"It was a sickening feeling in our stomach to wake up again to hear more loss of lives and more gunshots," says Dr. Elenora Woods, the new president of the NAACP in Chattanooga.

She says the recent violence has her questioning the city's violence reduction initiative.

"We depend on our elected officials to come up with policies and procedures and programs that make our lives better in our communities, yet it's not working," says Woods.

She says the city needs to be looking for new solutions in the new year.     

"Our communities need to come together."

In the meantime, Fletcher says his investigators are making progress in solving the city's latest homicide.

"They feel very strongly that they have actionable leads and they are working, again, with every resource, every partner, with every tool they have to take Mr. Sims in to custody before he harms somebody else or before somebody harms him."

"It's time for us to wake up. We're young. We have our whole lives ahead of us. Go back to school, make something of your life. You got to be your best and do something with yourself. Stop shooting. It's not right," says Dave.

Police say Sims is not related to any of the victims and are still trying to piece together who he was trying to target.

If you can help in this case, call police.

Dr. Woods says the NAACP hopes to sit down with city leaders in the coming weeks to address reducing crime.



UPDATE: Chattanooga police are seeking a 17-year-old man in connection with a quadruple shooting that hurt a toddler and left one woman dead.

Police Chief Fred Fletcher said Cortez Sims, 17, is wanted for first degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a weapon. He said he got permission to release the juvenile's name. 

Police believe he shot four people early Wednesday morning, killing 20-year-old Tolitha Bowman.

The other victims are Bianca Horton, 24, who has been treated and released from the hospital  and Marcell Christopher, 18, who is said to be in critical condition.

The one-year-old shooting victim remains in critical condition according to police.


PREVIOUS STORY: One person is dead and five others are injured -- a including a one-year-toddler -- in three overnight shootings.

Chattanooga police received a call just after 1 a.m. Wednesday morning. One victim was deceased when officers arrived at the West Main Street address. Three other people, including a one-year-old toddler, were transported to local hospitals. Two of the victims are in critical condition. One victim suffered non-life threatening injuries. 

Investigators are focusing on an apartment in College Hill Courts. They do not have any suspects in custody. 

In 2014, the city had a total of 27 homicide - a 42 percent increase from the year before.

A week ago, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke told Channel 3 Eyewitness News that the Violence Reduction Initiative is showing "gradual success" even though the city had the highest number of homicides in more than a decade. 

One week into 2015, police are investigating three homicide cases. No arrests have been made.

Berke said the goal of the initiative is to reduce gang-related shootings and stop the constant cycle of retaliation. 

"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," he said. 

Police also responded to a shots fired call at 10:40 p.m. Tuesday night in the 2200 block of East 26th Street. Eight minutes later, 19-year-old Brian Posley Jr. showed up at a local hospital with a gunshot wound. 

His injuries are considered non life threatening. 

And officers were called out to a shooting on Hickory Woods Lane just after 3 a.m. A man was taken to a local hospital with a gunshot wound.

At this time, investigators do not believe the shootings are related.

Anyone with information is asked to call Chattanooga police at 698-2525.

Stay with Channel 3 for the latest on this story.

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