As slain woman's family grieves, Southside Social owner, police explore security upgrades

Cachet Peterson

The family of 21-year-old Cachet Peterson is in the midst of mourning and making preparations for her funeral, but they're no strangers to gun violence.

Satedra Smith, Peterson's cousin, is the mother of Jordan Clark, 20, who was shot to death in the 800 block of North Willow Street in August 2015. She said she's been communicating back and forth with her cousin, Peterson's mother, as she navigates a kind of grief Smith knows all too well.

"It's been kind of hard because I never thought really, seriously, that I'd have to console a family member. This lady is devastated. I was devastated," she said Tuesday. "We were raised together. We've been in each other's lives ever since elementary school."

Peterson and 24-year-old Tiana Linares were traveling north on Chestnut Street outside Southside Social just before 1:30 a.m. on Sunday when they were shot by someone in another car traveling in the opposite direction, according to Chattanooga police. Both women were taken to a local hospital, where Peterson died a short time later.

No suspect has been identified in the case and investigators have asked anyone with information about the shooting to contact police, no matter how insignificant the information might seem.

Smith said the homicide has painful echoes of the shooting that claimed her own child's life.

Clark was walking with another man, Tavoris McKeldin, when a white P.T. Cruiser went by and shots erupted. McKeldin ran, climbed a fence and escaped without injury, but Clark was fatally wounded.

"We're still experiencing the same thing," she said. "Now I'm feeling that same pain again. And anger. And rage. The general public should not be in fear of when I walk out this door, am I going to make it to my car."

She said it's incumbent on the city, police, business owners and community members to stand up, find solutions and prevent this kind of violence from claiming another victim. She would like to see either more private security or police officers at places like Southside Social where large groups of people gather to drink and have a good time.

"It's going to take a little bit more. They're going to need more cameras, more patrols," she said. "Again, this was a drive-by, intentional shooting, so that means you've got to have people on the ground to oversee things that go on."

That opinion is shared by John Wise, the owner of Southside Social, who met with Chattanooga police Chief David Roddy on Tuesday to discuss measures that could be taken to improve the safety and security of both his employees and patrons.

In the wake of Sunday's shooting, Wise told the Times Free Press that he would be looking into improved exterior lighting, security cameras and modified business hours.

Elisa Myzal, spokeswoman for the Chattanooga Police Department, said the meeting between Wise and Roddy on Tuesday was positive.

"John Wise, Chief Roddy and other members of the Chattanooga Police Department met today to discuss the tragedy that occurred on the south side and ways to work together to keep patrons of the businesses and surrounding neighborhood safe and secure," she wrote in an emailed statement.

"We are working together to develop not only environmental solutions to the Southside Social and surrounding area, but also how we as law enforcement partners may support this. We will continue to develop other means and solutions to provide a safe and secure environment in the area most recently impacted by violence."

Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at or 423-757-6731. Follow him on Twitter @emmettgienapp.