Restaurant owners say shooting was off site

Restaurant owners say shooting was off site

July 6th, 2011 by Beth Burger in News

Chattanooga police continue to investigate an incident on Bonny Oaks Drive in which a man was shot in the abdomen.

Ralph Higgins told investigators he was shot just after midnight Sunday while sitting in his car next to Walt's Fireplace Restaurant and Sports Bar, at 6238 Bonny Oaks Drive.

However, Walt and Jeannie Marler, owners of the restaurant, provided security footage showing Higgins limping down the street and into their parking lot about 12:11 a.m. He goes off camera and Jeannie Marler said he was heading for his car, parked at a vacant business next door.

Eleven minutes later on the video, Higgins makes his way toward the sports bar when he slowly falls to the ground. A man entering Walt's sees that Higgins is wounded and casually walks into the sports bar to tell a bartender. A frantic bartender calls 911 on her cell phone, according to the footage.

Jeannie Marler believes the shooting happened off site.

"If there had been a gunshot, there would be some reacting," she said, gesturing to the other people shown in video. "We've been here 14 years, and we don't have a lot of trouble. We don't put up with it."

Higgins told police he was approached by a man between 4 foot 11 and 5 foot 1 wearing a brown shirt. Higgins said the man got into a four-door brown car and left.

According the Marlers, police were scheduled to review the video footage Tuesday.

Chattanooga Sgt. Jerri Weary said there were no new developments in the case.