published Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Facebook fights end up on street, police say

Chattanooga gang members are feuding on Facebook before taking it to the streets, local police say.

Before almost every gang-related shooting in Chattanooga, police officers get a call warning them there is an argument on Facebook and something is going to happen.

“It’s crazy that typing back and forth causes people to shoot each other, but basically that’s what it is,” Chattanooga police officer Josh Mays said Saturday. “They’re arguing back and forth, and as soon as they see each other, the first thing they do is pull out a gun and shoot.”

Mays was among several hundred young people, elected officials, parents and community leaders who gathered at the East Chattanooga Weed and Seed’s first gang summit Saturday at the Tivoli Theatre.

“There’s way too much death going on in this city,” Mays said. “Way too many guys and girls walking around with bullets in them, and that’s just what we know. For every shooting or stabbing we find out about there’s probably 10 or 15 that we have no clue even happened.”

The summit comes after a week in which five people were shot and one died. Ronald Blackmon, 25, died after he was shot in the head March 4. Police said the accused shooter, a gang member, told them he mistook Blackmon for someone else.

The next day, someone blindly fired several shots through an apartment window, striking a 3-year-old boy and a 20-year old. Two other men were shot in separate incidents.

Parents are the front line of defense against gang activity, speakers said.

“One of the main things that I can tell the parents here is that if you do not know how to get into your kid’s Facebook [page] and look and see who they are friends with and see their pictures, you’re way behind,” Mays said.

See complete coverage in Sunday's Times Free Press.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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rmodrall said...

I feel quite certain that the drug trafficking and violent crimes that are perpetrated by several of our public officials on a regular basis is a more significant contributing factor to ongoing gang violence than FaceBook. We need to prosecute those criminals first and the young people will have no reason to participate in gang related activity. They also need positive role models and mentors. There should be programs to engage them in a productive and ethical manner.

March 12, 2011 at 10:50 p.m.
carl3617 said...

The Criminal Justice systems appears to favor the criminals. It should be revamped and designed, so that these kids and young adults wouldn't want to go to jail or prison. In jail the prisoners have better rights than the people who are doing what is asked. they do not have to pay for healthcare, food,college, or a place to stay. I think we need to work with China and build massive prisons over there, and send theses criminals(young or old ) over there where the people have no rights. Let them earn their freedom back.

March 13, 2011 at 8:24 a.m.
ceeweed said...

If Facebook postings spell out intent and then a crime is actually committed, then these techno-punks have built the D.A. a prefect case. How extremely stupid it is to tell someone your intent in such a public forum. L.O.L. (Losers On Line).

March 14, 2011 at 12:23 a.m.
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