published Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Three suspects identified in Chattanooga Christmas Eve shootings, two in custody

  • photo
    Investigators William Salyers and Heather Williams bag evidence on Sunday from a shooting on 4th Street in Downtown Chattanooga between Market and Cherry Streets. The shooting happened around midnight on Christmas Eve leaving nine people wounded.
    Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Chattanooga police have arrested two juveniles suspected of firing into a crowd of young people and wounding nine on Christmas Eve near Mosaic church on Market Street.

Investigators say they are still searching for a third suspect.

Both of the juveniles are gang members, police said.

Police have charged a 15-year-old with nine counts of attempted first-degree murder, nine counts of aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and reckless endangerment.

Charges are pending against the second suspect, police said.

The 15-year-old also is believed to have been involved in a shooting Tuesday night at 2505 Oak St. Police were on their way to pick him up on the Mosaic charges when the gunfire erupted. No one was injured.

The Christmas shooting stemmed from an argument inside the church during a party.

Police said some teens were kicked out after gang signs were flashed on the dance floor. As about 400 people were leaving a little before midnight, shots rang out, according to police.

One of the teens in custody told police his friend was wounded when Chattanooga Officer Jacques Weary returned fire. Police are still waiting for ballistics to come back from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to see if Weary wounded any of the gunmen.

The church, located at 412 Market St., has been associated with numerous shootings and fights through its controversial youth program, Club Fathom.

According to a Dec. 31 letter obtained by the Times Free Press, the church has been ordered to leave the downtown site by the end of the month.

Property records show Beverly Henry as the trustee and the letter was issued by attorney James Henry, her husband.

See Thursday’s Times Free Press for complete coverage.

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