published Monday, March 19th, 2012

13-year-old Chattanooga girl shot in the head and chest

2012 Bennett Ave
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A large group of family members huddled in the waiting room of the children's intensive care unit at Erlanger on Sunday, hoping for good news about the most recent victim of a Chattanooga shooting.

Thirteen year-old Keoshia Ford is in critical condition after being shot in the head and chest Saturday night near 2012 Bennett Ave. near Highland Park.

A witness, who asked not to be identified, said Sunday that her niece and a friend were going outside between 8:30 and 9 p.m. on Saturday night when they saw Keoshia, distraught and saying that she was being chased.

While the witness was ushering her children inside, she heard shots ring out, she said. After securing the children, the woman came back to find Keoshia had been shot behind her ear and in her chest. There was no sign of the shooters. She said she called police.

"This child was an innocent bystander," the woman said.

Keoshia's father, Michael Ford, said he doesn't know who would want to harm his daughter or why. He said Keoshia was visiting a friend on Bennett Avenue when she was attacked.

"All I know is that my baby's fighting for her life," he said.

He wondered if a gang dispute is to blame, adding that police told him the bullets came from two different guns.

The witness said that there was a block party nearby at the time of the shooting, on the corner of South Willow and East 12th streets. She suggested that an altercation there could have spilled over to Bennett Avenue.

All involved hope that Keoshia can shed some light on the shooting, but the girl hasn't awakened since the attack.

Chattanooga police spokesman Nathan Hartwig said that as of Sunday night, no one has been charged in the crime and that the department is not ready to release specifics of the attack.

This shooting marks the second of the weekend in Chattanooga. On Saturday, two men were shot on Fagan Street, one fatally.

There have been 22 shootings, with four fatalities, in Chattanooga so far this year, Chattanooga Times Free Press records show.

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