Dozens of Chris Jones' neighbors took to the side streets of Rossville on Saturday and Sunday to collect money for his unexpected funeral, which will cost around $5,000.
Jones was shot Friday night outside his mother's home in the 4000 block of Chandler Avenue and died at a hospital.
According to Chattanooga police, Jones and 35-year-old Santory Johnson were having an argument just before Jones was shot multiple times. As of Sunday night, police were still looking for Johnson, who is wanted on warrants in the slaying.
Sunday evening, Jones' neighbors didn't want to focus on that, though. They wanted to remember their friend.
"He's loved. It's what we do, we show love to any of our fallen neighbors," Desmond Gearing, Jones' brother, said Sunday evening.
Gearing said Jones leaves behind two small boys of his own, his 2-year-old and 3-year-old sons, whom he worked to take care of. He leaves behind his girlfriend, his mother, his siblings and his community.
Many of the residents who stood along with Gearing on Sunday night did not want their names in the newspaper. But they all had positive things to say about Jones.
"He was just like us," one man said. "He was a good guy," said another man. "It's messed up."
Jones' mother did not wish to speak Sunday evening, having lost her son only days before.
"It's tough," Gearing said. "A hard pill to swallow."
He described Jones as "the light for everything," a well-liked man whose presence was felt in the tight-knit community. He talked about Jones' football career at Howard High School.
A man named Jason sat a little way from the crowd Sunday on the steps of the Bethlehem Community Center. He quoted Lil Boosie's song "No Mercy."
"No Mercy" is about negotiating life in the ghetto, and the struggles that come with it, including a continual trend of death among its young male residents.
"If you make it to 25, you OG," Jason quoted. OG stands for "original gangster."
Jones died at 24.
Contact staff writer Alex Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6731.
Alex Green joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 after completing the paper's six-month, general assignment reporter internship. Alex grew up in Dayton, Tenn., which is also where he studied journalism at Bryan College. He graduated from Rhea County High School in 2008. During college, Alex covered the city of Graysville and the town of Spring City for The Herald-News. As editor-in-chief of Bryan College's student news group, Triangle, Alex reported on ...