Woman becomes latest homicide victim

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A 36-year-old woman became the city’s 27th homicide victim over the weekend after she was mortally wounded by gunfire in East Knoxville.

The victim was identified by police as Chaka Sligh of Knoxville. No further information about her was immediately available, and no arrests had been made in her slaying as of late Sunday.

The shooting was discovered about 3:10 a.m. Saturday in the Old City when a Knoxville Police Department officer was flagged down by a car on Central Street near Jackson Avenue.

Sligh, who was described as being “an occupant of the vehicle,” was suffering from at least one gunshot wound, according to KPD’s account of the shooting. She was rushed to the University of Tennessee Medical Center and was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival. 

“It was reported to officers that the shooting occurred in the 2700 block of E. Fifth Avenue, where a crime scene was located,” said KPD spokesperson Scott Erland. “Major Crimes Unit investigators responded to the scene to begin the investigation, which remains in the early stages.”   

This year is on track to be the bloodiest since Knoxville began keeping crime statistics. Since Jan. 1, there have been at least 27 slayings in the city plus at least five more homicides in the unincorporated areas of Knox County under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Office. 

Knoxville has been averaging about one homicide a week so far this year, which is nearly two-and-one-half times more than the 22 slayings per year that’s been the average over the past decade. 

There were 37 homicides in Knoxville in 2020, more than the previous high of 35 in 1998. At this time last year, there had been only 18 slayings.

Erland said anyone with information relevant to the investigation is urged to contact East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477, online at www.easttnvalleycrimestoppers.org or via the P3 Tips mobile app. Tipsters will remain anonymous and eligible to receive a cash reward.

Published on July 19, 2021