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A Chattanooga woman was fatally shot Wednesday, just four months before she was expected to testify against the man accused of shooting her 2-year-old daughter.
The body of Bianca Horton, 26, was found on the side of a road at around 9:19 a.m., and she had been shot several times, police said.
On Jan. 7, 2015, Horton’s child, Zoey, was shot in the back during a home invasion that left another woman dead and two others injured.
Horton was expected to testify against the alleged gunman in that case, 19-year-old Cortez Sims, at his trial in September, NBC affiliate WCRB in Chattanooga reported. Police have said Sims was involved in a gang, the station reported.
Police would not say Thursday whether they believe Horton’s killing might be related to the trial. Her body was found on Elder Street about five miles from her apartment, the station reported.
Horton credited police with saving her child’s life. Officers who responded to the shooting rushed the shot child to the hospital in a patrol car rather than wait for an ambulance, the station reported.
"If it wasn't for them, you know Zoey may not be here at this point," Horton said at an award ceremony for police in May of 2015. "But now she's here and she's big and she's talking.”
Zoey was 1 year old when the shooting occurred. She turned 2 in September, according to an online fundraiser set up by her mother. Doctors had feared the child would be paralyzed, but she reportedly was responding well to therapy and showing signs of progress.
Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher told the station, “We've brought out every possible resource and partner out here to try and find who may be involved in this.”
"This one is very painful for the police department," Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said Wednesday.
Sims is charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder, according to court record. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Hamilton County Jail. Online records did not list his attorney.