published Monday, March 21st, 2011

Witness says gangs involved in fight

A man caught up in Saturday night’s fight among hundreds of juveniles at Coolidge Park said the incident was gang related.

East Brainerd resident Carlos Harrison said the fight was started by a group of 25 young men. After police told them to break up, they started walking in small groups toward the underside of the Walnut Street Bridge.

“They were just bored,” said Harrison, hanging out in the park Sunday afternoon. “They said, ‘We’re bored, man, let’s fire on somebody.’”

Police on Saturday said as many as 300 teens and young people were present when the fight started. Shots were fired, but no injuries reported.

Chattanooga police spokeswoman Jerri Weary said Sunday that officers arrested several young people, but she could not say how many or on what charges. She said none have been interviewed because juveniles must have a guardian present during questioning.

Police found a firearm nearby but haven’t arrested the gunman, Weary said Sunday. They haven’t determined whether there was gang involvement, she said.

Harrison said these incidents often start when people send mass text messages to friends, organizing large social gatherings in public places. As soon as competing gang members get involved, trouble starts.

“You send one text message to [a Blood], they’re going to send it to each other. They’re not going to come by themselves because they’re beefing with the Crips,” he said. “If you’ve got a group of five Crips walking around here with all Bloods, they call some more people. They get scared; that’s all it is. They’re scared.”

Harrison said he was involved in a similar incident at Coolidge Park last March when about 225 people brawled. Five people were shot in the leg in that fight.

Despite Saturday’s incident, several parkgoers said Sunday that Coolidge Park is a safe place.

“I don’t feel scared enough not to come and bring kids,” Highland Park resident Ben Johnson said. “It’s not something that you’re going to be hanging out on a normal day and then suddenly there’s going to be a shooting.”

Ooltewah High School 10th-grader Marcus Brown said he frequents the park, and during the day it’s fairly safe.

“I’ve never seen anything. I’ve seen people arguing, but they usually break it off,” he said. “As long as the sun’s up, it’s safe. It’s not safe after that.”

Harrison said that because incidents such as Saturday’s often start with misunderstandings between strangers, community-building gatherings at the park would stop people from feeling the need to fight.

“If they had more events where people got to know each other, they wouldn’t have to do that,” he said. “They won’t have to think that guy’s looking at them because he’s trying to attack them.”

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Rivieravol said...

The City should purchase a large tract of land in some remote area of the county and designate it a "gang war area," where the gangs could meet and shoot each other with no criminal prosecution.

That would serve 2 purposes: It would make all other areas in the city safer.

It would help eliminate the gang problem.

March 21, 2011 at 10 a.m.
Veritas said...

I must be confused, I thought guns were banned from city parks. I'm certain if these fine upstanding young men were aware of this ordinance they would have left their guns at home. Now let's get done to the facts. The ordinance banning guns from city parks effects only one class of citizens, the "law abiding" citizens. These thugs will carry their guns when and where they please, therefore, the "law abiding" citizens are at the mercy of these welfare receiving, housing project dwelling thugs. They live off the public dole and yet continue to rob, rape, and murder the very ones who provide them with a livelihood. I for one will carry my concealed weapon whenever I am outside the safety of my house and I encourage others to do the same. This absurd ordinance is nullified by my natural right to self preservation.

March 21, 2011 at 11:13 a.m.
Marathon5454 said...

It's hard for the Chattanooga Police to stop the gang problem. They're too busy with "speed traps" all over town to raise revenue for Littlefield

March 21, 2011 at 11:40 a.m.
sage1 said...

Amen Veritas.....I'd say these thugs just can't read the signs and didn't know they were breaking any laws.

*Remember, When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

*It's not the lack of police that causes these acts of violence, it's the lack of punushment to those that commit the crimes.

March 21, 2011 at 11:47 a.m.
porko said...

i have watched the police get after the bike riders and dog walkers on the wal st bridge. its much safer to go after those danged bikers than gang members that shoot back. those 500k condo owners paying the outrageous taxes should be up in arms themselves for this. good luck on those resales. come to downtown chattanooga and live for the ok corral entertainment(just don't catch a stray)

March 21, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
biofish said...

Are you really going to blame the police?. The ONLY people doing something about this problem is them, NOT YOU. Yet, you people think that they should try harder??. Kinda hard when they take away police raises for 5 years, insurance doubled, not hiring anyone for 2 years and now they want to take away the officer's pensions!. No one wants to work there anymore!

Place the blame where it belongs. With the one man who created the "perfect storm" of crime increases in Chattanooga History. Littlefield.

March 21, 2011 at 12:16 p.m.

Rivieravol,

Zooville would make a good "gang-war area" and Darde Long could charge admisssion.

March 21, 2011 at 12:29 p.m.
bigfoot said...

The coolidge park should close down when the sun goes down or close at 9 oclock pm.These kids mess everything up for everybody.There is a war on the other side of the world.Send some of thosejackasses on the other side of the world to fight the war, relieve some of those militarypeople that want to return home to be with their families.

March 21, 2011 at 3:53 p.m.
bpqd said...

What happened to community policing? At one point, we had horse patrols and bike patrols throughout the city. Now, we have people griping to force the police to park their cars as we give away millions in tax breaks to political cronies. It's time to get our priorities in order. Evidently, we need to spend another 10 to 20 million on policing and another 10 to 20 million on social services.

March 21, 2011 at 4:21 p.m.
seaeagle8709 said...

I like the suggestion of the city buying a large tract of land and designate is just for "gang wars". We could even issue weapons and ammo at the entrance gate. Then, let them have at it. Soon the local gang problem would be solved.

March 21, 2011 at 6:11 p.m.
bree said...

white folks raise h-ll about the shooting in the coolidge park because they visit thier and its close to (thier)Aquarium and the V.W. and the RODEO but BLACKS can kill each in the WOODLAWN APTS. and POLICE DONT CARE,and these same WHITE FOLKS thats commenting want open thier mouths, i say let the GANGS go downtown,then and only then will POLICE, AND WHITE understand what BIG problem we all have with these DUMB GANGS

March 22, 2011 at 7:08 a.m.
bree said...

WHITE PEOPLE SAY, please do something they are shooting in the park hey, try living in the WARZONE everyday, when is the last time you seen 15 comments on GANGS? NOT UNTIL GANGS AND BLACKS show up in the parks and downtown!the police will try to protect WHITES walking thier dogs and white people JOGGING IN BIKER SHORTS AND THONGS. CHATTANOOGA JUST LET BLACKS START TO LIVE AND VISIT EAST RIDGE AND RED BANK, 15YRS AGO I WAS IN EAST RIDGE BURGER KING THIS WHITE LADY IN LINE TURN TO ME AND MY MOM AND SAID YA,LL HAVE STARTED TO COME OUT HERE NOW! IT TOOK EVERYTHING I HAD TO KEPT FROM GOING TO JAIL SO I MOVE OUT OF CHATTANOOGA 15YRS AGO AND IT SAVE ME 15YS IN JAIL! I DONT EVEN LIKE COMING TO VISIT THERE BUT MY MOM AND SOME FAMILY DONT KNOW HOW MUCH BETTER THE REAL WORLD IS

March 22, 2011 at 7:32 a.m.
hambone said...

Bree must be a Howerd gradget!

March 22, 2011 at 8:38 a.m.
Macallanlover said...

You are partially correct bree, white Americans will handle a problem when it is invades their security. The question is: what part of "black culture" is afraid to step up to their own responsibilities? Where is the parenting and the family unit? Why don't you step up to drugs and violence in the predominently black areas? If you would report crime, testify in court, work with the police, and not get on juries and excuse black crime, it would be safer in your areas. And it would have been so decades ago, before it got to this point. This is much more about values and culture than it is about race. Blaming your plight on the white man is getting real old, and has accomplished nothing.

It is time blacks in this country stop with the racist attitude, adopt American culture, or prepare to continue living in bad areas, cowering in your homes, and being excluded by those of us who have values that provide a safe and desirable lifestyle. Blacks who have embraced American culture can succeed. Who wants to live in a danger zone where adhering to laws is ignored? Neither blacks nor whites. Both whites and blacks want to live in a safe, comfortable area and getting there is about values and culture. Just that simple. Stop using being black as an excuse for being too gutless to clean up your own mess. And you are right: we will protect our children and our property....and we don't wait on the police to do it either. We will protect our own, why don't you?

Do you think the white areas you describe would let drug dealers stand on the corners and hide between buildings? Do you think we would listen to gunfire nightly in the areas where our children live? The police don't hang out in our areas, we police our own neighborhoods, and call police when we see thugs endangering our security.

Use some of that bitterness to get the energy to help improve things in your home area. Frankly, the rest of us are tired of funding a bunch who are too sorry to help themselves. Stop condemning your children to a life as a loser with an attitude against what works. Being angry at whites is counter-productive, be angry at black leadership that has taught you to hate, and blame whites. Don't you see? The only way they have power is keeping racism alive in the black community. They are quick to point fingers against the establishment while ignoring the obvious shortcomings in the black family and community. It will not get better until you clean up neighborhoods, one house at a time. The police can not so that, it has to start with your house first, then tell a neighbor, until you take a street. Run them out of your area, I can promise you they will not survive in mine.

March 22, 2011 at 9:03 a.m.
hambone said...

lol lol !

March 22, 2011 at 11:28 a.m.
Macallanlover said...

hotdog, you are right, and that is unacceptable to me. I feel the police feel endangered, and frustrated, by the lack of cooperation in many black areas. More police should be assigned to predominently black communities because the highest incidence of crime occurs there, but no amount of police effort will succeed until there is a commitment from the residents that the police will get support from residents. Nothing replaces that, and it must begin there. The community leaders should work with police to develop an attack plan, but that will require a degree of trust that does not currently exist.

Watching little children grow up in a dangerous environment is tragic regardless of one's skin color. White America is willing to support that, but the ball is not in their court on this one. I feel citizens would support more assistance from police if they didn't feel the effort is wasted by lack of cooperation from those who can provide information. When criminals know they cannot succeed, or will face a united front, they will move on. It is one of those cases where you get what you will tolerate. Unfortunately, many innocents are trapped in this environment because of decisions made by apathetic adults.

March 22, 2011 at 12:17 p.m.
eastridge8 said...

Macallanlover...you are so right...I wish you or someone with as much common sense and education as you seem to have would run for Mayor...Lord knows we need someone like you speaking to this community...but I fear hotdog and Bree will not read your fine comments...makes too much sense and has too many big words,correct spelling and grammar.

Hey Hambone...I think you're right about Bree...and HotDog seems to have gone there too...LOL!

March 22, 2011 at 4:42 p.m.
NorthShoreRez said...

I moved to Chattanooga 1 month ago. As a new resident on Frazier Avenue I have actually heard gunshots on Walnut St. Bridge twice. Both times there was a large event in Coolidge Park. And both times there were large groups of people on the bridge after dark between 10:00pm-12:00am when the shootings occurred. I watched the groups scatter and people run away screaming. By day the illusion is Coolidge Park, Walnut St Bridge, and The North Shore Business/Residential area is safe. I am concerned and do not feel safe after dark in my own neighborhood. I moved to Chattanooga after visiting a dozen times over the last 2 years. Not once did I feel unsafe as a tourist. I appreciate the new bright LED lights that were installed under the bridge. I can tell you from walking in Coolidge Park after dark that no one gathers under the bridge or any where in the park. I regularly see bike/foot/and segway patrol officers in Coolidge Park. On event nights there are no less than six patrol cars/officers in Coolidge Park. Recently I've seen cameras being installed in Coolidge Park. I feel safe in the park but I will for now avoid the Walnut Street Bridge until I see consistent patrols on the bridge and around the entrances to the bridge. I appreciate the effort of the CPD and realize more can always be done. As residents in this community it is our obligation to notify authorities of questionable or illegal activities. Let's not turn a blind eye to this and blame a person or a department. You have a hand, raise it, You have a voice, use it. Downtown Chattanooga is a tourist economy. As residents we enjoy the entertainment options we do because of them. I love it here for that reason. I patronize the businesses in Chattanooga everyday and will continue to tout the quality of life we have here.

July 25, 2011 at 1:14 p.m.
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