The Knoxville Police Department is investigating the shooting death of a 17-year-old in the Western Heights community.
Officers found the teenager with multiple gunshot sounds in an alley behind Jourolman Avenue at 4:26 a.m. Sunday morning. He was dead when they arrived.
KPD identified the victim as Caleb Arwood of Knoxville.
Arwood previously attended Karns High School and later enrolled at West High in Knoxville. In a statement on Monday, West High School Principal Ashley Jessie told 10News:
"We are saddened to have lost a member of our West High family. Our thoughts are with Caleb Arwood's family and friends during their loss. Counselors are available at school to help students during this difficult time. Life is precious, and each day is a gift for us all."
On Sunday, officers detained a person of interest after a lengthy chase in the Ridgebrook Apartment complex. Investigators interviewed the man, but no charges have been filed and no one is in custody at this time.
Those who knew Caleb are grappling with a life taken too soon. One close family friend told 10News: "He really was a great kid. Great smile. A great soul."
Close relatives described Caleb as a troubled kid with a good heart. His cousin said, "He was the best person you could be around. Just hung out with the wrong people."
KPD said this is the 16th homicide this year in the city. Investigators do not believe the shooting was random.
For many Western Heights residents, news of deadly shootings have become all too common. Some even called the latest death “déjà vu”.
"It's becoming to where you hear gunshots, and you just feel like it's a natural thing," said neighbor Sylvia Thomas, who lives feet away from the scene of the shooting.
Thomas has five children, and has lived in Western Heights for four years. She says she now fears letting them play in the neighborhood.
"About a year and a half ago, there was a guy that got robbed and shot right on the front of my porch," Thomas said.
She and many other residents say violent crime only started escalating in the area a couple years ago.
Amid Sunday's fear and confusion, they are calling for an end to the violence.
"The world needs to go what's going on out here, so we can put a stop to our kids dying. It's just sad," Thomas said.
The KPD Violent Crimes Unit is working to learn more information about the incident.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Knoxville Police Department at (865)-215-7000.
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