Three witnesses have told police they saw Courtney Birt, 18, shoot a 16-year-old Howard High student multiple times, including in the head, on Tuesday morning.
Police responded at 10:19 a.m. to an abandoned house at 2620 Carr St. and found the lifeless body of Lamunta Williams lying near the front door.
The suspect was last seen fleeing the scene on foot headed toward the area of Howard High School. Due to the proximity of the school with the shooting, officials placed the school on lock-down.
Birt was later charged with criminal homicide and booked at the Hamilton County Jail.
The three witnesses said they were hanging out with the victim at the abandoned house when Birt arrived and began shooting.
They said Birt had been saying for the last several weeks that he would kill Lamunta Williams when he saw him because he had hit his child's mother, Tylisha Henderson, during an altercation on Feb. 14.
One of the witnesses said Birt a few days earlier had tried to get her to set up the victim for him.
Birt, though he was only 18, already had picked up several criminal charges. He is facing earlier counts of aggravated burglary, driving on a suspended license, impeding traffic, criminal trespass and not having insurance.
City of Chattanooga Department of Education, Arts & Culture Administrator Missy Crutchfield said, "I just spoke by phone with Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, Dr. Arun Gandhi. He is in Washington, D.C. today and he will be speaking to students at George Washington University about Season for Nonviolence. He also passes on this message to The Howard School where he spoke here in Chattanooga during his visit in September and where a student was shot and killed today."
Dr. Gandhi says, "It is tragic. When this kind of violence happens, it is an indication we need to do something to change society."
Ms. Crutchfield added, "As we mourn the loss of another student, a useless death, another tragedy, we understand the importance of a nonviolence movement more than ever. We need to turn the trend of violence around and be the change. We cannot afford to lose our young people. Our sympathies go out to the family of the student. The violence must stop now."
To learn more about Chattanooga's Season for Nonviolence go to Education, Arts & Culture's page on www.chattanooga.gov.
- Photo2 by Brent McDonald, NewsChannel 9