Teenage girl dies following stabbing on Poplar Street in Chattanooga

Teenage girl dies following stabbing on Poplar Street in Chattanooga

December 19th, 2011 by Beth Burger in News

Chattanooga Police Department officers work the scene of a fight that broke out Monday night in the College Hill Courts near Poplar St., leaving 15-year-old Shaviya Vinson dead of a stab wound to the chest. Anissa Wells, 17-year-old sister of the victim, and Renee Cross, age 23, were also injured in the attack when they say a group of about 10 females rushed the three of them as they were walking along the street.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Anissa Wells holds her head in her hand as she sits on the curb along Poplar St. in the College Hill Courts Monday night as Chattanooga Police Department officers work the scene of a fight that broke out, leaving 15-year-old Shaviya Vinson dead of a stab wound to the chest. Wells, the sister of the victim, and Renee Cross, age 23, were also injured in the attack when they say a group of about 10 females rushed the three of them as they were walking along the street.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

Anissa Wells sat on the curb resting her head in her hand.

Police kept asking questions.

Bystanders nearly encircled her.

The 17-year-old had blood belonging to her dead 15-year-old sister, Shaviya Vinson, stained on the pant leg of her blue jeans. Vinson, who received a single stab wound to the chest Monday night at College Hill Court housing development, died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

"I just got rushed," Wells said. A small abrasion marked her face.

"I just turned around and saw my little sister on the ground bleeding," she said, shortly before she was escorted to an ambulance.

Vinson's death marks the 24th homicide of the year in Chattanooga. She is the youngest homicide victim this year.

A fight broke out between two groups in the 1300 block of Poplar Street Court.

When police arrived as many as 50 people, including bystanders, were on the scene, said Chattanooga police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary. One teen girl turned over cellphone footage of the fight to police.

The altercation stemmed from an incident over the weekend, Weary said.

Vinson sustained a stab wound to her upper chest at about 6:30 p.m. A small blood trail remained in the street where the attack happened, marked off by yellow crime scene tape. The street was littered with debris from the attack including a metal rack.

"[Shaviya] was just standing there. She wasn't even fighting," said Renee Cross, 23, who was walking with Wells and Vinson when the altercation happened. They were walking back from a residence, she said, when they were approached by a group of about 10 people, mostly women.

"A bunch of them ran up the hill. One of them had a little knife in her hand and swinged it. Then the next thing you know, some girl ran up the hill and hit [Anissa] with that iron thing and everyone started fighting," Cross said.

Cross said she did not know what led to the attack. She said she previously called police about another incident before the fight Monday night.

Police had at least two people detained from the fight for questioning. As of Monday night, no arrests had been made.

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