- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2015

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A drive-by shooting in Chattanooga killed a single mother as her children watched television upstairs.

The Tuesday night shooting fatally wounded 37-year-old Monica McMillon, The Times Free Press reported (https://bit.ly/21iAPs0). But neighbors say she couldn’t have been the intended target of the attack.

Chattanooga police spokesman Mark Frazier said on Wednesday that “suspect information is limited” in the investigation of the shooting. He said leads are still streaming in and that investigators will pursue them as long and as thoroughly as they can.

McMillon’s son, Malik Jones, told the newspaper he was watching a movie with his little brother and sister when he heard gunshots downstairs.

He says he locked the door and turned off the lights until it was quiet. He went downstairs and Then he got to the kitchen, where he found his mother.

“Just lying there,” he said, one day after the shooting. “I looked her in the eyes. I couldn’t - I just started stuttering.”

Jones called 911, then his grandmother.

At his high school, Jones is a member of the Young Men of Distinction, an etiquette program aimed at training inner city students to become leaders. Because his mother had to be at work at a chicken plant at 5:30 a.m., Jones always woke his younger siblings and brought them to their bus stop.

The children are staying with their grandmother.

“Everybody’s going to be grieving,” Jones said. “Everybody’s got their process and stuff. But most people know that she wouldn’t want us to be all sad for too long.”

Before her job at the chicken plant, McMillon was a cashier at the Fast Stop on the corner of Wilcox Boulevard and Dodson Avenue.

Her former co-workers said she was like a sister to them. On Wednesday, as news spread, some of the regular customers stopped by to make sure what they heard was true.

Employees put two white buckets in front of the cash registers, asking customers to donate any money they could to McMillon’s children.

“We are mourning the loss of our dear beloved family member,” someone scrawled on the buckets in black marker.

“One of the sweetest girls you’ll ever meet,” said Curtis Russell, a Fast Stop employee.

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Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com

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