published Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Violence unrelenting in College Hill Courts

Willacia Linder talks about the shootings in College Hill Courts this year.
Willacia Linder talks about the shootings in College Hill Courts this year.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

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Small children played near the doorways of brick housing units on Cypress Street Court just before rain began to fall Wednesday afternoon.

Their mothers stood nearby, watching intently.

The College Hill Courts public housing development has been the site of two shootings just this week and four this year.

A shooting Sunday resulted in the death of 20-year-old Cecil Timmons. No arrests have been made. On Monday night, 26-year-old Delandus Pound was shot in the upper shoulder.

“I want to move — bad,” said Willacia Linder, 19, as her 2-year-old son played.

Latonya Moore, 20, standing one door down from Linder, said she was near when Timmons was killed. She said people were hanging out after watching the Riverbend Festival fireworks Saturday night.

Witnesses said men got out of a white car, and at least one fired into a crowd standing outside.

“[Timmons] didn’t know he got shot,” she said. “He just tipped up on his side. One of his friends picked him up and took him inside the house and laid him on his stomach. The police came in there and flipped him over. He was dead.”

Moore said there are reports that the bullet wasn’t meant for Timmons.

“It was meant for someone else. They just fired into the crowd,” she said.

Linder said Timmons didn’t live at College Hill Courts but often hung out there.

“He was cool. I used to see him here all the time. He didn’t seem like a troublemaker. I don’t think he should have lost his life,” she said.

Chattanooga Housing Authority Public Safety Chief Felix Vess patrolled College Hill Courts on Wednesday looking for cars and people who were out of place.

He said most of the trouble comes from outside the development.

“This is the first murder we’ve had in over a year in College Hill. Right now we’re just trying our best to try and stop it again,” he said.

“Seventy percent of the problems are caused by people who don’t live here,” Vess said. “A majority of people who live here are good residents.”

He said the recent violence reflects a citywide gang problem.

Doris Conner, former president of the College Hill Courts resident association, said closing the Harriet Tubman development means putting gang members side by side.

“They’ve got the Crips and the Bloods out here. One is blue and one is red,” Conner said.

“It’s just terrible,” she said. “These young people have no morals. They have no respect. They may speak, but don’t say too much because they may cuss you out. I see the police. I hear the shooting. But I don’t get involved because the police can’t protect you.”

All of the shootings this year in College Hill have happened near the 1200 block of Cypress Street Court.

On March 6, Darrell Paris, 22, was shot in the abdomen with a sawed-off shotgun at 1329 Cypress Street Court, records show.

On March 21, gunfire broke out in the 1200 block of Cypress Street Court. Injured were Marcel Hawthorne, 22; Eric McMath, 20; and 18-year-old Jermichael Powell.

Linder said residents live in fear. When the sun goes down, residents get scared, she said.

“I’m scared to bring my kid out to play,” Linder said. “Bullets don’t have eyes, so wherever you shoot it could hit anybody.”

Conner said many residents have come to her worried about the violence.

“I told them all we can do is pray,” she said.

Staff writer Yolanda Putnam contributed to this story.

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sangaree said...

“I told them all we can do is pray,” she said.

Sommmmmmeee groups spend so much time on their knees praying and with their eyes closed that they don't realized until too late their being had. By that time it's too late to act. Notice? Other groups "pray" about it, then take action. While others pray and pray and pray awaiting some divine intervention. God doesn't mind anyone on their knees praying. HE just never meant for you to remain there.

Just don't stay on your knees much too longer "praying about it" only to find yourselves well past Jim Crow and back into slavery. Georgia has already begun the process. If things continue on this path, within the next generation or two, that's where most of you will be.

Miss Linder, there's crime everywhere. Moving isn't going to solve that. At 19 you should be in college or the military, and not making babies without daddies. In order to rise above a situation you and yours must change your way of thinking. Otherwise, others will continue to have guaranteed jobs and make money from your misery.

The last thing you all should agree to is allowing yourselves to be boxed in and separated from the general population. History is your friend. Study up on it. You might learn something and avoid another tragedy.

June 23, 2011 at 10:32 a.m.
slimjim300 said...

legalize drugs and watch the homicide rates disappear.

June 23, 2011 at 12:06 p.m.
brokentoe said...

Doris Conner, former president of the College Hill Courts resident association, said closing the Harriet Tubman development means putting gang members side by side. “They’ve got the Crips and the Bloods out here. One is blue and one is red,” Conner said.

Why are you fighting and killing mirror images of yourselves? Do you so hate yourselves that that which looks like your image reflecting back at you in the mirror you want to destroy it? There should be no such terms as bloods, crips, east-side against the west-side against the south-side against the north-side; no colorss of reds and blues. You're all defined by one skin tone. That should unite you. It should not divide you, and it certainly should not make you want to destroy your own relfection. Wise up to the game, brothers and sisters! Stop allowing others to dictate your destiny. Only when you wise up will you rise above that generational curse that seems to plague your race from one generation to the next. Only when you realize your own potential will you become a phenomenal force. Many are getting rich from your misery. They get to live in the fine homes and drive the nice cars. Unfortunately, you've allowed yourselves to be exploited again and left out of the loop.

June 23, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.
slimjim300 said...

more action? any ideas? how about sending all gangsters to an island somewhere away from society? strip them of their Citizenship. let them make their own society.. i think it would be called hell.

June 23, 2011 at 2:27 p.m.
slimjim300 said...


June 23, 2011 at 4 p.m.
rolando said...

Sure hope all those people around the new "Out in Five Years" public housing project read all this. You too will experience the gunfight-in-the-middle-of-the-night side of life! Sell now, people!

June 23, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.
93639 said...

Brokentoe: if being of one tone unites us, then differing ones would divide us. While I agree that much of this stems from self-hatred, I don't think continuing a centuries long divide is the answer.

As for prison rates, the reality is that blacks and Hispanics are MORE likely than white counterparts to get prison time for the SAME type of crime. Before you assume that a minority of the population create the majority of crime, you should check to facts. Prison does not create a healthy society, it creates more criminals who pool their resources and knowledge. Furthermore, it's no coincidence that most of the inmates have limited literacy and we spend more to fund prisons that schools.

June 23, 2011 at 11:03 p.m.
hambone said...

Tribes, mud huts, spears.

Gangs, brick projects, guns.

June 24, 2011 at 9:09 p.m.
Chameleon said...

So I have lived on the Southside off Main Street for 6 years. I have slowly seen the gangs become more prominent in areas considered relatively safe. The violence is growing. And all people can seem to do it point fingers and place blame. Not on our city council members or police force but on the citizens who have to live with this hell. I didn't ask to hear gunshots at night. I go to college and have 3.7 GPA. I didn't ask for Bloods to come into my neighborhood and mean-mug me. I didn't ask for the girl across the street to get pistol whipped for her ipod. I didn't ask to be to terrified to step out into my parking lot at might fearing some dumb boy in a gang is gonna hurt me. I don't deserve it. And neither do those who live near me in college Hill Courts. Most of those people are just struggling to survive. And to suggest it is their fault for being (more than likely) born in to a disparaging situation and poverty and forced to face very REAL and SCARY issues that threaten their livelihood is completely ridiculous. Those who do suggests such things are clueless about what it is truly like to live in the inner city. And why should we have to move?? Why can't my neighborhood be a safe place for children to play?? WHY? Why can't the police force help stop this problem? And I'm not laying all the blame on the CPD, a lot of it is the denegration of the family structure. More than likely these gangsters have had terrible homes lives where no one showed them how to be a MAN. How to be productive citizens who stand up and do the right thing. All these young men can see is ways to make money any way they can. And it is sad. it is so sad that no one was there to whip these kids when they were doing wrong. that no one cared enough to discipline them and tell them right from wrong. And now we all have to pay for it. So before you start blaming hard working innocent citizens of a terrorized neighborhood maybe you should think about what you really know about the situation. If you don't live it please don't judge. Because I do live it and I am trying to make something of myself and I am terrified. I love my block and my neighborhood and I take pride in it. No matter what everyone else thinks. I have a right as an American to pursue happiness and enjoy liberty and I will be damned if I'm going to let someone chase me out. The city never should have placed rival gangs in such close territories to begin with and I'm sure the chief of police will agree with me.

September 13, 2011 at 12:06 a.m.
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