A day in the life of a CPD homicide investigator
The Chattanooga Police Department has nine homicide investigators on staff and roughly the same number of unsolved homicide cases. It's those cases that can make the job a frustrating one.
The Chattanooga Police Department has nine homicide investigators on staff and roughly the same number of unsolved homicide cases.
It's those cases that can make the job a frustrating one.
After six years as a patrol officer, Sgt. Victor Miller now oversees CPD's homicide unit. It's an assignment he applied for but took on knowing how hard it would be on him and his family.
"You see a lot of things. You see a lot of things that people never want to see so it's something that whenever you start to apply for this unit you have to know that in the beginning," said Miller. "There's a phase of time where you just want to be left alone and just relax and chill out it's usually about an hour and your family knows that. It's your job. Your Family supports you, but they don't know everything."
Miller and his team have investigated 22 homicides this year, including an officer-involved shooting on Shawnee Trail back in March. They are still working to make arrests in 9 of those cases.
Detective Christopher Blackwell retraced one of those unsolved cases with Channel 3.
"It's frustrating. You always want to know why or how someone could harm such innocent individuals," said Blackwell.
He found Marcus Bradfield's body at the 3800 block of Brainerd Road two months ago. The 20-year-old father was walking home from work with his girlfriend when he was shot to death.
No shell casings. No witnesses, and still no leads or answers for Bradfield's family.
"You get anger, you get fear. You get just a multitude of reactions from the family members and you just have to sit there and you listen to them. It's not that we aren't doing anything when we tell them we don't have new leads. It's just that we can't during an open investigation tell them what we have or don't have," said Blackwell.
Blackwell says the ride home after leaving any homicide scene is always overwhelming.
"I've been mad before. I've been drawn tears before driving home, because it's your first time in hours and it could be 12 hours or 24 hours that you've actually been alone with your feelings so that you can think about what just happened, what you just experienced, what you saw, what someone told you...so it cna be troublesome at times," said Blackwell.
A struggle to gain the community's trust, but also deliver justice is a balance that Miller and Blackwell know all too well.
Last month investigators created a Homicide Tip Line. The number is 423-643-5100. The homicide unit answers those anonymous calls. We're told plans are in the works to create more ways for people to feel comfortable coming forward.