Police investigate early morning shooting in St. Elmo
12:33 p.m.: 1100 Moss Drive, Darius Hurd, 227:46 p.m.: 200 W. 38th St., Anthony Sherard, 2610:42 p.m.: 4100 Kirkland Ave., Unidentified 17-year-old girlSource: Chattanooga Police Department
Everyone ran when the shots rang out except a 17-year-old girl, who fell right where she had been standing.
Alone on the pavement, she didn't move.
Police cars came screaming in minutes later, a witness said, and the girl was rushed to a Chattanooga hospital, where she remained in critical condition Monday. She was shot from shoulder to shoulder, across her body, police said.
The girl, who will not be publicly identified because she is a minor, was one of three people to be shot in the city Sunday in gang-related incidents, police said. The three shootings sprang from two different gang disputes, Sgt. Josh May said.
Two of Sunday's shootings - the 17-year-old girl and a 22-year-old man shot on Moss Drive - are likely connected to an ongoing gang fight that involves mostly younger gang members, May said. Police believe a third Sunday shooting on West 38th Street is part of a separate gang dispute that began when 24-year-old Marquise Jackson was slain in August.
The 17-year-old girl is not a gang member, May said, but was standing with several gang members, including her boyfriend, when she was shot around 10:45 p.m. on the 4100 block of Kirkland Avenue. A witness heard about six shots during the drive-by shooting.
Police don't think the girl was the intended target in the dispute, which May said centers on disrespect.
"It's not money driven, it's not drug driven, it's just disrespect," he said. "It's social media driven. These guys are up at 3, 4 in the morning disrespecting each other. And they have access to firearms."
He declined to name the particular gangs involved in the fight. Many of the gang members who are part of this dispute are high school-aged, May said, and he again pointed to fall break as a factor in the violence.
After seven people were shot in four incidents last weekend, police Chief Fred Fletcher said officers had anticipated a spike in violence during fall break, which he said can be one of the most violent weeks of the year.
Including the weekends on either side of fall break, which ran from Monday to Friday, 11 people were shot in the city, including one man who was killed.
That's not unusual - during the weekend at the end of fall break in 2015, five people were shot in what police said were unrelated incidents, Times Free Press records show.
Some of the violence last week was also driven by a months-long gang conflict that is unrelated to the dispute that wounded the 17-year-old girl, May said. A 26-year-old man, Anthony Sherard, was shot on the 200 block of West 38th Street just before 8 p.m. Sunday and is expected to survive.
Sherard was also shot in 2013, according to Times Free Press records.
His wounding Sunday is likely part of back-and-forth violence that began when 24-year-old Marquise Jackson, a gang member, was killed at his home in Alton Park. Jackson's death provoked immediate violence within days - including the shooting of a 22-month-old baby - and that feud is still going on now, two months later, May said.
Police are working with agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to track down and arrest the key players in that dispute, May added.
"We've got reliable information and prosecutable evidence that we're going to [use] to go after several of the names that have been listed as the drivers of the violence," he said. "And we're going to use any methods necessary, within legal means, to get those individuals off the street."
He added that police are preparing for potential retaliation and are putting officers where investigators believe more violence may occur.
"But police can't be everywhere," May said. "It's very difficult. We're outnumbered by the guys who want to do damage out here and want to create chaos. It's just a frustrating situation."
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