Third slaying in 72 hours leads to arrest

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Kyeisha Dalton

Gunfire on the streets of Knoxville claimed yet another life Monday evening, bringing the number of homicides in the city to three in only 72 hours.

The most recent bloodshed was reported to officers from the Knoxville Police Department about 8:10 p.m. Monday, when they were called to the University of Tennessee Medical Center because a gunshot victim had been brought into the emergency room and died, according to KPD spokesperson Scott Erland.

“The victim was a 35-year-old woman,” he explained. “She was driven there by at least one other person who was questioned and released.”

Investigators soon determined that 21-year-old Kyeisha Dalton was a suspect in the shooting and officers responded to her home in the 1400 block of Wallace Street, where she was detained for further investigation, be continued. A crime scene was located in the 1400 block of Jourolman Avenue and investigators eventually concluded that Dalton had shot at the victim’s vehicle following an altercation. 

Dalton was charged with second-degree murder and booked into the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility. 

The victim’s name wasn’t released Tuesday pending notification of her next-of-kin.

About 8 p.m. Friday, 36-year-old Christopher David Price walked into Harb’s Market in the Lonsdale neighborhood and gunned down 33-year- old Erresse King Jr., according to KPD officials.

Price drove away from the scene but was charged with first-degree murder. He was tracked down Monday afternoon to a house in West Knox County by agents from a federal task force, but he committed suicide rather than surrender, authorities said.

The third slaying was discovered when KPD officers were dispatched to an alley in the 2500 block of Louise Avenue at approximately 8:30 p.m. Saturday. 

They found Jefasha Mitchell, 26, inside a Toyota sedan. She had been shot at least once and was rushed to UTMC, where she was pronounced dead. 

No arrests have been made in her case and police haven’t released any suspect information.

As alarming as the toll over the past three days may be, Erland pointed out that Knoxville has been measurably less violent this year than it was in 2021. 

“There have been 19 homicides within city limits so far this year, which is down from 23 at the same time in 2021,” he said. 

Last year, Knoxville had between 43 and 45 slayings, depending on how the numbers are compiled. Either way, it was the highest number of homicides in the city’s recorded history. 

Not only has the number of killings been lower this year, but well over half of the city’s homicide cases have been cleared by KPD, continued Erland.

“At this point, nearly 60 percent of those cases are closed either because the offender has been identified and arrested or the offender died,” he explained, alluding to two instances this year when the suspects killed themselves. 

“Patrol officers are doing an excellent job on the preliminary investigations following their response after these incidents occur and our investigators are following that up with exceptional work on these cases, and that is reflected in the current clearance rate,” he said.

Police ask anyone with information about Mitchell’s slaying (or any unsolved case) to contact East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers at 865-215-7165, online at www.easttnvalleycrimestoppers.org, or via the P3 Tips mobile app. Tipsters can remain anonymous and be eligible to receive a cash reward.

J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at jjstambaugh@hardknoxwire.com.

Published on July 20, 2022.