Follow live coverage of a news conference at Mosaic Church on 412 Market St. pertaining to Christmas weekend's shootings today at 2 p.m. here.
Pastor Tim Reid will read Mosaic's official statement and then will follow-up with questions from the media.
Pastor Reid and Mayor Ron Littlefield also had earlier online chats on August 5, 2009. Transcripts can be read here.
Source: Times Free Press archives
A Christmas morning shooting that injured nine people is further evidence that the downtown club where the brawl began is a public nuisance that should be dealt with quickly, city officials said Monday.
Club Fathom has a long history of teen violence dating back to at least 2006 and has faced city ire in the past.
"This place has consistently been a problem and the owners are not addressing the problem," city spokesman Richard Beeland said. "We are talking to the city attorney to see what our options are."
Chattanooga police said nine people -- five juveniles and four adults -- were shot when rival gang members began firing at each other in a crowd of about 400 teens leaving a Christmas Eve party at Club Fathom located in a building run by Mosaic Church on Market Street.
Police believe the Club Fathom brawl, which happened shortly after midnight, led to at least two other incidents, including another shooting near College Hill Courts. Police Spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary said police would not release any additional information about the incident until today.
Police have not released the names of those injured near Club Fathom, but said no injuries appeared to be life-threatening. Police released Sunday the name of 18-year-old Thomas Heffner, who was shot in the hand near College Hill Courts sometime after leaving the downtown melee.
Fliers outside the building advertised a candlelight Christmas Eve service from midnight to 1 a.m., while an online ad billed a "Smash or Pass Christmas Bash," where no ID was required. That advertisement featured a woman in red lingerie and a Santa hat.
On a Facebook posting advertising the candlelight service, Mosaic Church pastor Tim Reid noted the candlelight service ended at 1 a.m., but everyone was welcome to hang out until 2:30 a.m.
It was not clear Monday whether one event or two were held in the building on Christmas Eve. Club Fathom is listed on Mosaic's website as a teen-centered outreach ministry of the church and arts venue. The building has two entrances, one near Cherry Street, and another at 412 Market St. The shooting happened in the parking lot behind the Cherry Street entrance.
Reid could not be reached on Monday and did not appear at home Monday afternoon at an address listed in his name.
A post on Mosiac's Facebook page said, "Our hearts go out to those hurt downtown this weekend! We are still having events as planned, this Friday Concert in the Gallery with Bluesmaster Bob Carty!"
Chattanooga City Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd said the club is a nuisance and public safety concern.
"I'm extremely concerned to hear that yet again we have had a disturbance at that establishment," she said. "Just what I'm seeing in results and outcomes from that establishment, I'm very concerned with the operations there."
Ladd said city officials will study what action they can take against the club. She said such incidents put members of the public in harm's way.
"This shouldn't be happening within their walls. But it certainly shouldn't spill out onto the street and open us all up to danger," she said. "We just cannot continue to have that happen in our downtown -- anywhere in our city."
The establishment's history includes fights, shootings and stabbings following late-night events.
"Certainly what happened the other evening was a nuisance," Ladd said. "And it doesn't appear that this was an isolated incident."
In August 2009, Littlefield told Reid to stop his Saturday night activities or the city would close down the establishment. That order followed a series of late-night fights, shootings and stabbings near the club.
"I told him frankly that I felt like he was running a business masquerading as a church," Littlefield told a Times Free Press reporter at the time.
Several people who work at businesses near Mosiac expressed concern about the shootings, but said the venue provided a needed place for teenagers to hang out.
Steve Root, a manager at Panera Bread, said his two sons used to go to events at the club. The club has had problems in the past, but has seemed quieter in the last year or so, he said.
"I'm really sorry that it happened," Root said. "There are kids from all over -- Signal Mountain, outside the city and urban kids -- that come there. It seems kids just don't behave; their mom and dad don't care like they should."
Root said he moved to Chattanooga in 1979, when downtown was a place you wouldn't venture at night. Now he hopes the latest events won't spread that same message.
"I think the police did a great job in addressing the problem," he said.
Mosaic's website says the organization aims to draw in 50 percent of its funding from hosting in-house events. The venue rents out its space for concerts, parties and the unaffiliated River City Church.
Reid's latest IRS form 990 tax filing from 2009 classifies the operation, called "Fathom, Inc.," as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. It's not classified as a church or religious institution, but rather falls under the category of family counseling and marriage counseling.
Contact staff writer Kevin Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6249. Contact staff writer Mariann Martin at email@example.com or 706-980-5824.