Chattanooga shootings rise, killings decline

Chattanooga shootings rise, killings decline

January 7th, 2014 by Beth Burger in Local Regional News

Police cars are parked around the scene of a shooting in October at the intersection of Wilson Street and North Orchard Knob Avenue.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

THE 19 VICTIMS

Chattanooga recorded 19 homicides in 2013. Of that total, there were 14 shooting-related deaths, two stabbings and four cases of strangulation or blunt force trauma. (In one instance, a victim was both stabbed and suffered blunt force trauma injuries.) Police were able to clear 68 percent of the cases. The 2013 homicide total was down from 2012, when the city documented 24 slayings.

1) Jan. 10 -- Edward Glenn is shot and killed inside a residence at 2500 O'Rear St.

2) Jan. 12 -- Timothy Bumpass is shot and killed in the 4800 block of Swan Road.

3) Jan. 26 -- James Masingill, 73, is bludgeoned to death with a crowbar at 3401 S. Orchard Knob Ave.

4) Jan. 28 -- Terry Parker dies after being shot three times in a gang-related shooting at 1200 Grove St.

5) Feb. 7 -- Lucius Moss, 36, was slain in his home after he sustained 17 stab wounds, mostly to his neck, face and head. His body and home at 1802 Wilcox Blvd. were set on fire after he was killed.

6) March 6 -- Lamunta Williams, 16, is shot to death in an abandoned house at 2623 Carr St. just blocks away from where he was supposed to be in class at the Howard School.

7) March 19 -- Eric Mason Fluellen, 18, died after being shot in the 3200 block of 13th Avenue.

8) March 20 -- Charleston Beard, 22, is shot to death in the 2200 block of Vance Avenue.

9) March 29 -- Deborah Underhill, 57, is found strangled and beaten on Patton Chapel Road on the south bank of the Tennessee River.

10) April 2 -- Desmond McClure, 28, is shot and killed outside of 2510 E. Main St. after an event.

11) May 5 -- Wendell Washington, 20, is shot at 3687 Northrop St. and dies from his wounds.

12) May 18 -- Alexis Lewis, 51, is stabbed to death at 101 E. 20th St. after an argument.

13) May 28 -- Steve Albert Cran, 58, is pushed into oncoming traffic in the 5900 block of Brainerd Road during an argument. Cran died from his injuries.

14) June 23 -- Demetrius "Meechy" Davis is shot along with three others while standing near a nightclub at 1501 Dodds Ave. Davis died from his injuries.

15) July 5 -- Ladarius Daniel, 21, is shot and killed while another man is wounded outside an event hall, Da Building at 1622 Dodds Ave.

16) Aug. 18 -- Ollie Peters, 15, is shot in the back of the head and found in the front yard of 1206 Sheridan Ave. He dies within a couple of days. He was a freshman at Tyner Academy.

17) Oct. 4 -- Christopher Jones, 24, is shot and killed on the 4000 block of Chandler Avenue just a few doors from his home after an argument with another man, witnesses tell police.

18) Dec. 5 -- Calvin Ward, 17, and Galen Allen, 26, are both shot while attempting to rob a man in a Bi-Lo parking lot at 4510 Highway 58. Ward dies from his injuries. Allen faces robbery-related charges.

19) Dec. 17 -- Norman Alex Gallman, 39, is shot at 344 S. Moore Road in a road rage incident. He dies shortly after. Richard Manning, 62, is arrested and faces charges.

Sources: CPD, Times Free Press archives

Chattanooga juvenile shooting victims in 2013

Photo by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga shootings in 2013.

Photo by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

Mollie Chatman hopes her nephew heeds the wake-up call.

"I don't know what's going on, but you need to get yourself together. You need to be a father," she tells the 19-year-old.

Tyler McCrary, a Tyner Academy graduate, is still on crutches after his latest surgery, which was needed after he was shot and wounded Dec. 7 at a party at 7627 Bishop Drive.

Just six months earlier, on June 4, he underwent another surgery. That one was also the result of a gunshot wound. It occurred during a robbery on Patrick Place Lane.

The number of shootings rose last year in Chattanooga, with at least 122 incidents resulting in 139 victims, compared with 103 shootings with 122 victims in 2012. Three of last year's victims, including McCrary, were shot on more than one occasion.

On the other hand, the number of homicides in Chattanooga last year was the lowest since 2009. A total of 19 people were slain in 2013, down from 24 in 2012. The average age of the victims was 32. A total of 68 percent of the cases were cleared by police. Of the slayings, 14 were the result of gun violence.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, who campaigned on a pledge to lower the number of shootings, said there was improvement in the last four months in 2013 when there were only two killings. He hopes the numbers remain low.

"We have to work hard to keep the numbers down, understanding there will be moments that there are spikes, but the trend line has to continue downward," he said. "And it has to occur over the course of years. Not just four months."

Berke touted efforts including the Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative, which seeks to reduce violence by taking violent drug dealers off the streets.

Offenders are called in for a meeting where authorities explain the charges pending against them unless they agree to quit committing violent crimes. They are then offered support and services to make changes in their lives. The first call-ins in Chattanooga are tentatively scheduled to take place in March, Berke said.

Berke also noted that local rules governing event halls have been strengthened after several people were shot near the venues last year. He said the city has spent money to pay for a prosecutor position at the U.S. attorney's office in Chattanooga as well.

Other factors also may have played a part in the decline in violence last year.

Police saturated high-crime areas with extra officers including the entire month of February. The number of shootings dropped to six that month before spiking in March with 17.

In August, the U.S. attorney's office and Chattanooga Police Department decided to remove some individuals who were causing the most violence, Berke said. That was followed up in November with federal authorities arresting 32 men, mostly on drug conspiracy charges. There was some overlap between the two groups of suspects.

One thing was clear, though -- the number of shootings decreased.

Kevin Adams, pastor at Olivet Baptist Church, said he has noticed the difference. He has officiated many funeral services for young men.

"The community is tired of shootings and killings. One thing we can't argue against is that it has decreased some of this senseless murdering and killing. ... No matter how upset people get, or whatever, there has not been as much killing and murdering since this roundup," Adams said.

Before his 19th birthday, McCrary was counted as one of the 33 shooting victims 18 or younger last year. The number of teenage shooting victims doubled last year compared to 2012.

McCrary's family is no stranger to violence. In 2008, 18-year-old Tyrone Stewart, McCrary's older brother, was killed in a shooting at a pajama party in a Dodds Avenue building.

"I wish [the shootings] would stop. You get a lot of families hurt. The violence has got to stop. I don't know what they're shooting for," Chatman said.

Chatman prays her nephew makes it to age 20.

"It's scary. You don't know who might be shooting up your house or doing any nonsense," she said. "I just hope it gets better this year for everybody."

Contact staff writer Beth Burger at bburger@times free press.com or 423-757-6406.

Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/abburger.