published Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Timeline of Chattanooga gang activity from 1984 to 2012


by Cliff Hightower

1984

• In East Lake Courts, gang members calling themselves Dogs paint blue graffiti throughout the community and beat a neighborhood man passing out religious tracts.

1987

• Hamilton County Juvenile Court officials say two juveniles and an adult, all identified as members of a gang calling itself Nationwide Pimps, are charged with conspiracy to rob an armored truck.

Summer 1995

• Three brothers in a Cadillac fire into another car full of young men, killing one, reportedly because at least one person inside the Cadillac was wearing red. The three brothers are members of the Crips, according to court testimony.

November 1995

• A basketball jamboree at UTC Arena is interrupted by a fight involving 60 or 70 young people, most wearing gang colors and flashing gang hand signals.

1997

• Ten gangs with 150 members are documented by Chattanooga police, and five of the city's homicides that year are gang related; four Chattanooga Southeast Thugs gang members are charged in the baseball-bat beating death of a 21-year-old and the assault of another victim.

1998

• Sixteen gangs are documented with 300 members, according to police.

January 2000

Chattanooga Police Department's four-man Gang Unit is disbanded under the leadership of Chief Jimmie Dotson; officers from the Gang Unit are paired with other officers in narcotics to form a Street Crimes Unit to work with other agencies.

2001

• Twenty-two active street gangs are documented by police.

2002

• Seventeen active street gangs are documented by police, and two homicides out of 21 are ruled as gang related.

By 2003

• The Chattanooga Police Department's Street Crimes Unit is disbanded because of manpower shortages and straying from its original purpose; one officer becomes the only gang intelligence officer for the entire department. This is a national trend at the time because terrorism is considered a more pressing issue.

October 2004

• Two men are arrested after an 8-year-old is shot in the bladder during a birthday celebration on Poss Drive. The shooting stems from a gang feud between the Alton Park Crips and the Highland Park Gangsters, according to court testimony.

August 2005

• Residents of Cameron Lane in Brainerd distribute fliers to reorganize a neighborhood watch to reclaim their community from what they call the Kemp Street Gang. In an August fugitive raid, officers arrest a man associated with a white supremacist group and an undocumented immigrant belonging to the MS-13 gang. Later in the year, two illegal immigrants taken into custody at a Dunlap, Tenn., tavern are identified as gang members.

June 2006

• Adrian Patton, 26, is shot and killed as he drives through the Emma Wheeler public housing complex. Michael "Mike Mike" Daniels is charged with first-degree murder, criminal conspiracy to commit murder and illegal possession of a firearm. On June 16, 2006, Jermaine Southers, 24, is shot and killed at East Lake Courts in what police call retaliation for Patton's death. Quanan Hutchinson, 20, is charged with first-degree murder. Both killings were gang related, police say.

July 2006

• "But the cold, hard fact is that if you try to shun the fact that you have gangs, you're giving them an opportunity to get a better foothold," says Lt. Gene Coppinger, a Hamilton County corrections officer who, as a security measure, begins screening jail inmates for gang membership.

2007

• Chattanooga Police Department forms the Crime Suppression Unit to target "any kind of crime we have in any specific neighbor-hood," says then-Assistant Chief Bobby Dodd. "They'll adapt and relocate depending on trends in the city."

April 2007

• "These are things we've talked about every year for some 10 to 12 years. We've had enough meetings. We need to stop having meetings and act," says Hugh Reece, president of the Southeast Tennessee Council on Children and Youth, who says he sees a lack of action at the community level on juvenile crime and gangs.

2008

• Six of 20 homicides are gang-related, according to police.

April 2008

• "I want us as a people to come together. I know we can't stop [violence], but we've got to start somewhere. I'm calling all mothers to step up to the plate. We need to take back our community from gangs, violence and the people who are on the corner selling drugs," says Patricia McCrary, whose 18-year-old son Tyrone Stewart in the crossfire between rival groups.

July 2008

• "We're just convinced that if the churches would come together, then God would heal the land because the land is sick with violence, gang activity and drugs," says Stanley Thurmond, chairman of the Deacon Board at Thankful Missionary Baptist Church.

2009

• 10 of 19 homicides are gang related, police say.

June 2009

"There is more happening throughout the city of Chattanooga as far as the gang situation. It seems to be getting worse from year to year. If we would have looked at this closer years before, when other people were saying there was a problem, maybe we wouldn't be at the level we're at now," says City Councilman Russell Gilbert.

October 2009

• "Some administrators want to put a smiley face on it and pretend there's not a problem, but that hasn't served us real well so far. There are some young people who, no matter how cute they are, they are criminals and they need to be taken out of the schools," says Hamilton County Board of Education member Rhonda Thurman.

November 2009

• "I'm seeing things in Brainerd that I haven't seen before, like graffiti. That says to me that [gang members'] geographic scope is increasing," says Marti Rutherford, organizer of the Brainerd Neighborhood Coalition and a former Chattanooga City Council member.

2010

• The police department's Crime Suppression Unit, which has a focus on gangs, is doubled to 10 officers; eight of the city's 20 homicides are gang related, police say.

March 2010

• Terrance Etchison, 27, dies from a gunshot wound after he was shot in the chest outside the Kanku's at 3440 Wilcox Blvd., an area that police say sits on the border of several gangs' turf. It was the second homicide in seven weeks at the Kanku's on Wilcox.

March 2010

• "We must declare cease fire in our communities. Let it be said from every pulpit -- cease fire. Let it be said by every teacher -- cease fire. Let it be said from every dais -- cease fire. Let it be said by every family member -- cease fire. Let it be said by every media -- cease fire," says Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Beck.

December 2010

• "I think people in the neighborhoods are sick and tired of it. If [gangs are] going to continue to do things as they're going to do, we're going to make it as miserable as we can for them," says Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd.

2011

• Police investigators documented 44 gangs and 1,100 members; there are 15 gang-related homicides out of 25.

March 2011

• "Unless we take steps to help these kids, we're going to find ourselves in a bloodbath," says James Moreland, chairman of the East Chattanooga Weed and Seed program.

Christmas Eve 2011

• Chattanooga police respond to a shooting after a party lets out of Mosaic church on Market Street; as many as 10 people are shot in what police say are gang-related incidents.

January 2012

• "We need to run them out of town, put them in jail or send them to the funeral home," says Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond.

Compiled by staff writers Beth Burger, Ansley Haman and Cliff Hightower.

Source: Times Free Press archives

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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