Police are waiting to learn more about Carly Ellis' death before deciding if charges will be filed against the young man who was handling the shotgun when it fired.
Chattanooga Police say 19-year-old Carly Ellis died Monday as the result of the negligent discharge of a firearm.
Her family says the 22-year-old man she was dating was handling the gun. Investigators say Ellis was sitting in a separate room and was hit in the neck by a bullet that came through a wall.
Carly's friends and family say they're focusing on her bright and loving life.
"She just had this energy that you wanted to be around her and you wanted to smile with her," says friend Taylor Massey.
Massey remembers cheering with her best friend at Ooltewah High School. She says there aren't enough positive things to say about Carly; she was someone Massey could always count on.
"You could call her at two in the morning and she would be there, on the phone, call her at two in the afternoon and she'd come pick you up," Massey says.
And she's still in disbelief that Carly is now gone.
"You wouldn't think that anything bad would happen to Carly," she says.
Everyone knew Carly as a hard worker, juggling two jobs in between school. Her boss at Bar Louie says she was supposed to be celebrating St. Patrick's Day with her work family this week and without her, the holiday just wasn't the same.
"But knowing that she had a spot, she was supposed to be here, it didn't really get talked about," says Matt Biskner, GM of Bar Louie Chattanooga.
Biskner says both Carly and the 22 year-old man police are calling a suspect, work at his restaurant, and that's how the two met.
He says he can't imagine what both families must be going through.
"It appears to have been the worst possible accident. I can't even imagine what he's going through," Biskner says.
No charges have been filed against the suspect at this time.
Police are waiting on a report from the TBI to tell them if the gun was working properly, and to get a better understanding of what happened before the gun went off.
READ MORE: Woman shot and killed due to negligent discharge of firearm
Carly's family says they have many unanswered questions but say their main focus right now is honoring her memory.
"It's such a sad loss. It really is," says Carly's Uncle, David Allen.
David Allen and his family are still trying to process the loss of his niece, Carly. "We're trying. My sister's obviously grieved beyond comprehension. She's trying to make sense of the situation," says Allen.
He says his heart aches for his sister.
"She's taking it moment by moment. Her and my niece, Carly, were best friends, inseparable, only child."
He can only imagine what his sister is going through.
"We have a 19-year-old daughter ourselves, and she's obviously upset as well. No parent should have to go through this. It's just out of order," says Allen.
He says Carly was a hard worker.
"She's super smart and just so kind."
She worked two jobs to help pay for her education at UTC.
"She just always seemed...'we're all right here', she always seemed up here for some reason. She was always a level up on everybody," says Allen.
He is not surprised by the overwhelming response his family has gotten from Carly's friends over her loss.
"She touched many lives," he says.
He wants his sister to know he and all of Carly's friends are supporting her in this tough time.
"We'll get through this together. God has a plan. We never know why. She's surrounded by loving family and friends. We all love her."
The family will hold visitation hours Friday, March 18, from 4-8 p.m., and Saturday, from 11 a.m. until the funeral hour at Ridgedale Baptist Church at 1831 Hickory Valley Road Chattanooga, Tn. 37421.
Hundreds gathered at Coolidge Park, protesting the violence that happened in Charlottesville Thursday night.
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
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