published Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

16-year-old Chattanooga girl suffers from gunshot wound to the head

  • photo
    Chattanooga Police Investigator Ken Burnette speaks to Officer Tyrone Williams, left, and Officer Mario Cunningham as they work the scene where a young female was shot in the head early Monday morning. The shooting happened at an apartment complex off Arlington Avenue known as "the woodlawns."
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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A teenage girl with a gunshot wound to the head was taken to a local hospital Monday morning after she was wounded during a domestic violence related incident inside an apartment complex known for violence.

The 16-year-old is believed to have a nonlife-threatening injury, according to Chattanooga police.

Neighbors said they didn't hear gunfire just before 8:30 a.m.

Police believe the shooting is domestic related. Her shooting marks at the 16th shooting this year for the city. At the same time last year, the city had 13 shootings.

"We know there are going to be spikes and drops on a temporary basis. What I'm working on is a safer city in the long haul," said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.

The Woodlawn Apartments, owned by a company comprised of Berke's uncle and father, had four shootings at the location last year. One woman said she rarely leaves her apartment. She is fearful of the violence around her.

"Violence anywhere is unacceptable. We want everyone in the community to feel safe," Berke said.

The Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative, an anti-crime initiative based on a model by John Jay School of Criminal Justice Professor David Kennedy's work, is expected to roll out toward the end of March. The plan finds potential offenders likely to commit violent crimes and has police officials make them an offer: Stop the shootings and take advantage of resources -- getting an education, job skills, counseling, etc., or potentially face lengthy prison sentences.

The initiative relies on partnerships with social service organizations to assist suspected offenders change their lives.

"We are putting in place the pieces that will be successful when we roll out the Violence Reduction Initiative that is moving as quickly as possible while understanding we have to be able to follow through on what we say when it rolls out," Berke said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Chattanooga police at 423-698-2525 or Crime Stoppers at 423-698-3333.

Contact staff writer Beth Burger at or 423-757-6406. Follow her on Twitter at

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