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"A city that is in a state of emergency" | City official warns of escalating gun violence in Knoxville

One city official is warning of the gun violence problem across the city. This comes after his first cousin was killed in what family says was a random shooting.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — A man was found shot to death on Riverside Drive in East Knoxville early this morning. According to the Knoxville Police Department, the body was initially reported by University of Tennessee campus police. 

This latest death makes 2021 the second deadliest year ever in the City of Knoxville, only behind last year's record of 33 deaths. 

With 27 deaths in just 29 weeks, David Gillette, an at-large member of the Neighborhood Advisory Council for the city, said something must be done and done now.

"Major alarms are going off because right now we are a city that is in a state of emergency," he said.

He says it's vital to get into the community and listen to people. 

"We have such a disconnect between our communities and our local government," he said. "One of the things we're going to have to do is figure out a solution to tear down walls, jump over the barriers and build bridges where we can figure out a way to get the community to trust our local government and our city, where we can work together."

Gillette is also the first cousin of Chaka Sligh, the victim of a deadly shooting that took place Saturday morning.

"Chaka was the type of person that was full of life," Gillette said.

He said that she could bring a smile to people's faces in any room, regardless of what was going on.

"She's going to be missed tremendously. There's not a day that goes by that we haven't stopped thinking about her. I mean again, she was one of the type of people that was always happy. No matter what circumstances come on her end, she was always smiling," he said. 

Chaka leaves behind three kids, two girls and one boy.

We reached out to speak with the Offices of Community Engagement and Community E empowerment, but they said they were not available today.

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