UPDATE: Validated gang member shot dead, ID'ed - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Validated gang member shot dead, ID'ed

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UPDATE: A check on a suspicious car near the railroad tracks on Lightfoot Mill Road leads to the discovery of a man's body, Tuesday night. 

Chattanooga police say 23-year-old Deonte' James was found shot to death, inside of the vehicle. 

Emergency personnel pronounced the victim dead on the scene. Channel 3 has reported on James in the past. Our records show in November of 2015, he was shot in the chest,  in the parking lot of Family Dollar on Wilcox Boulevard.  

In that incident, court documents stated that James had showed up to sell an underage girl drugs, but a group of teens took his pot and then shot him before running away. He was able to make it to Tunnel Boulevard by personal vehicle where police found him and got him help. A teenager was later charged in that shooting.

During a "Mindset of a Gang Member" presentation with Chattanooga Police, we learned James' death marks the city's 26th homicide of 2017. Officials say homicides are up by 3 this time last year, but overall shootings are down. 

"We've had a lot of domestics situations and bad drug deals" said Sgt. Josh May, Chattanooga Police Dept. "How people are still getting killed for marijuana in 2017 is beyond me, but it's happening." 

Police say while James is considered to be a validated gang member, at this time investigators are not sure if his shooting-death is gang related.

"Anytime you see the term validated or associated gang member, they're in a file," said Sgt. May,  meaning each validated member has to meet certain criteria before they are labeled.  

Anyone with information that can help investigators is asked to call the Department's Homicide Tip Line at 423-643-5100.  Officers say you can remain anonymous and all tips go straight to investigators who are working the case. 

UPDATE: A validated gang member was shot and killed Tuesday night in Chattanooga, according to police.

Police responded to a call from Norfolk Southern Police for a suspicious vehicle in the 2700 block of Lightfoot Mill Road, where they found 23-year old, Deonte James with a gunshot wound. 

Hamilton County EMS pronounced the victim dead at the scene.

Police say James is a validated gang member, but it is unknown if the homicide is gang motivated. 

CPD is asking anyone with information to call the Homicide Tip Line at 423-643-5100. Callers can remain anonymous and all tips go directly to investigators.

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