Chattanooga police capture, arrest Hamilton Place mall riot suspect again

Chattanooga police capture, arrest Hamilton Place mall riot suspect again

May 16th, 2018 by Emmett Gienapp in Breaking News

This story was updated May 16, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.

Police have once again arrested David Ballard, 18, a gang member accused of pulling a gun and starting a riot at Hamilton Place mall in February.

The Times Free Press previously reported that police swarmed the mall shortly after 6 p.m. on Feb. 17 when multiple people called in to report shots being fired at the location. Investigators found no physical evidence shots had been fired in the building, but did find a handgun that was dropped in the parking lot.

David Ballard is seen running in this screenshot from a security camera.

David Ballard is seen running in this screenshot...

Photo by Courtesy of the Chattanooga Police Department

Police said surveillance video taken during the incident showed it began with a fight that escalated when Ballard pulled out a firearm.

Ballard posted publicly to social media as police looked for him and said he was going to turn himself in. He said his mother was stressed out and that he would be out of jail shortly.

"A n—— be back out, you hear me?" he said at the time. " ... be right back out in these streets by 9 o'clock."

Two months later, he was indeed out of jail, and on April 25 a detective spotted him in the passenger seat of a black Toyota Camry in Woodland View Circle. Ballard is on the Chattanooga Housing Authority's "no trespass" list, so the detective approached the parked car to confront Ballard because he was trespassing.

The detective said Ballard was in the passenger seat of the car and was bent over doing something near the floorboard. Ballard then got out of the car and asked why he was being hassled before telling his mother, the only other person in the car, to keep the detective from searching it.

The detective then tried to take Ballard into custody, but he managed to get away. A search of the vehicle yielded a fully loaded Springfield XD 9mm with 19 rounds underneath the passenger seat. Ballard's mother denied having any knowledge of the gun, according to the detective.

David Ballard

David Ballard

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Ballard called his mother while the detective was still at the scene and asked to speak to him. When his mother handed over the phone, Ballard told the detective he had just cut off his GPS monitor.

Police didn't see Ballard again until May 14, when they responded to an incident in the 600 block of West 13th Street Court. Officers first spotted a suspect wanted on an attempted murder charge exit a home. The officers arrested that suspect, Brandon Cannon, and asked two residents of the home if they could search it, according to court documents.

The residents gave written consent to a search, and officers found Ballard hiding in an upstairs room. One of the officers at that scene was the detective Ballard ran from just weeks before.

Officers placed handcuffs on Ballard and began walking him out to a patrol vehicle, but the suspect pushed off and began running through College Hill Courts, still handcuffed. He refused several commands to stop, but after running for a couple of blocks officers said Ballard "appeared gassed out and laid down."

He was again escorted to the patrol car, but continued to push and pull away from officers, attempting to hit one in the face with his own head. Officers said he also kicked a detective in the leg and told another that was going to "pop" him when he got out.

Ballard has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault, theft of property, retaliation against an officer, resisting arrest, evading arrest and escape. The theft of property charge was added because he was wearing an officer's handcuffs at the time of his attempted escape.

He is next scheduled to appear in court before Hamilton County General Sessions Judge Christine Sell on May 21.

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