Chattanooga police seek 2 suspects in motel shooting

Chattanooga police seek 2 suspects in motel shooting

August 24th, 2011 by Kate Harrison Belz in News

Crime scene tape surrounded the Guesthouse Inn off Shallowford Road Tuesday morning after a man was shot in the hip there during a robbery. The victim's Chevrolet Caprice Classic is parked out front.

Photo by Kate Harrison Belz/Times Free Press.

Ashok Kumar says he rarely has problems with guests at the Guesthouse Inn, the motel he manages near Hamilton Place.

That's what makes the Tuesday morning shooting of one of his regular guests especially troubling.

"I'm surprised about it -- nobody heard anything happen, and we've never had anything like this ever," said Kumar, whose motel is at 2200 Park Drive.

Chattanooga police are on the lookout for two suspects after the shooting sent a man to a hospital.

Julian Caldwell, 38, told police he was returning to his room about 10:30 a.m. when two masked men approached him and forced him into the room at gunpoint, according to police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary. Once inside, the two men closed the room's curtains, told Caldwell to strip and then began ransacking the room.

At some point, Caldwell said he saw an opportunity to escape and fled out the door, Weary said. As he ran away, he said one of the men shot him in the hip.

Caldwell headed over to a nearby storage company and asked someone to call an ambulance, which took him to Erlanger hospital. His wounds are not life-threatening.

Caldwell could not identify the assailants Tuesday, describing them only as two black males, one wearing a bandanna and a ball cap.

Investigators are checking into a motive for the alleged robbery, said Weary.

Kumar said Caldwell was a regular at the Guesthouse Inn, staying there for two- to three-week spans each summer for the last four years or so.

Caldwell's permanent address is listed at 1611 Wheeler Drive. At the home, the gate was padlocked and neighbors said it had been unoccupied for several years.

Kumar said he's concerned about the effect the shooting may have on his business, but he doesn't think it sullies his hotel's reputation.

"Every hotel has its problems. We've never had them before, and hopefully we won't see anything like it again."