A small group gathered on the steps of the Hamilton County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon for a pop-up rally after of the shooting death of 21-year-old Cachet Peterson.
The event, dubbed "Saving Lives Over Guns," was organized by Satedra Smith, Peterson's cousin, after the woman was slain Sunday night.
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. Her death was the third homicide in Chattanooga this year.
"The city needs to know it's time to get to work. We cannot continue to create and build here in Chattanooga while losing lives right outside the door," she said Wednesday. "I'm sick and tired of people losing their lives."
Smith is also 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 Peterson's mother over the grief they now both share.
She said part of the problem she's seen in Chattanooga communities has been an unwillingness on the part of witnesses to step forward, but police have indicated there has been greater community cooperation in recent years because of inroads made between officers and the neighborhoods they serve.
"We can't keep being scared and stay quiet," Smith said. "It's disrespectful to life and to the families of victims. If you see something, tell someone," she said.
April Boozer, executive director of Fathers to the Fatherless, also made an appearance on the courthouse steps Wednesday to support Smith and her cause even though she didn't know Peterson.
"It's hard seeing kids get killed. Period. It's senseless. This young girl was such a beautiful young lady," she said. "I think that anyone who works for change is doing something worthwhile. [Satedra Smith] isn't just just talking, she's trying to do something about it.
No one has been arrested in connection to Peterson's death, but Christopher Turner, 26, has been charged with criminal homicide for the Tuesday shooting death of Jamichael Eddins, 24. Eddins' slaying marked the fourth homicide in Chattanooga this year.
Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6731. Follow him on Twitter @emmettgienapp.