published Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Friends of victim call East Lake shooting death an accident

Friends of an 18-year-old high school student who died from a gunshot wound on Sunday called him an athlete and a fun person.

Melvin Crayton, whom friends called HK, died at a hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to his leg, according to Chattanooga police.

"I shed a couple of tears," East Lake Courts resident and friend Tray Wells said Monday. "It's hard to hear he's dead."

The circumstances surrounding the shooting are under investigation, according to police. If police determine that his death was a homicide, it will be the 14th of the year, equal to the total number of fatal shootings in the city last year.

But people sitting on the porch just a few doors down from 2525 Sixth Avenue Court where he was hit, said Crayton accidentally shot himself in the leg.

Wells, a ninth-grader at Tyner High School, said Crayton didn't live in East Lake Courts but was there nearly every day. Wells said Crayton played basketball and football at the community center and was a student at Howard High School last year but planned to transfer.

Just Thursday, he and Crayton spent half the day indoors playing video games, Wells said.

All in all, he just kept things happy, said Wells.

"He was funny, the coolest."

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at or call 757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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