Eric Collins delivers Budweiser products Wednesday morning at the Okie Dokie food market at 1300 Roanoke Ave. The store was the scene of a shooting death Tuesday when a man was shot in the chest and killed at close range shortly before 9 p.m. on the sidewalk in front of the East Chattanooga business. Staff Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Several friends of a man shot point-blank in the chest Tuesday night say the killing was the deadly end to an ongoing argument.
They also say police repeatedly punched a witness and twice sprayed chemicals in his face.
The dead man — identified by police as 22-year-old Cordarrius Jeronell Armour — was shot about 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Okie Dokie Market at 1900 Roanoke Ave. Police said Armour died from his wounds at the store.
Police have not released the name of a suspect or other information about the incident.
Chattanooga police spokeswoman Officer Rebecca Royval said she didn’t know anything about the treatment of the witness.
On Wednesday morning, more than 15 community residents gathered at the store and in a nearby neighborhood said Armour’s death was not gang-related and described him as a quiet man who usually kept to himself.
“He didn’t even come out of the house,” said Tee Lee, whose daughter is Armour’s goddaughter. “I just wish he’d gone [died] a different way.”
Lee and friend Ashley Moore said they know who the shooter is and called him by name. Lee said the shooter was gunning specifically for Armour, and pushed a man and a little girl out of the way to get to him.
Friend Terry Base said Armour was a hard worker but had a history of confrontations with the shooter.
“He was a good guy, he just made bad choices,” he said. “Everybody has their devils in the closet.”
Armour had a history with Chattanooga law enforcement. Since 2006, he’s faced three assault charges, all of which were dismissed, and a possession of cocaine for resale charge, which also was dismissed, records show.
Base said he headed to the store Tuesday night when he heard about the shooting and, once there, saw several officers punch and slam a witness into a police car as they tried to detain him.
Base and five other young men at the convenience store Wednesday morning said they saw five or six officers slam one of Armour’s friends — who appeared to be in shock and covered in Armour’s blood, they said — against a police car several times, punch him in the face multiple times, then spray a chemical in his face twice.
Resident Chris Hudgins, who said he witnessed the incident, said the witness tried to walk away when police asked him to get in a police car. He said the witness kept his eyes closed and hands to his side and didn’t resist police until they tried to handcuff him.
“The police were beating the hell out of him,” Hudgins said. “They were just slamming him up against the car. They treated that guy wrong last night.”
Hudgins, Base and other witnesses said an ambulance was called and the witness was taken to the hospital. His condition is unknown.