A shooting outside the Riverbend Festival involved a large crowd of juveniles spending their Saturday night loitering near the Tennessee Aquarium.
Two 13-year-old boys were shot, allegedly by a 14-year-old boy, shortly before 10 p.m., not long after headliner Macklemore took the main stage on the final night of the festival.
"This is a lot of people that have come down here tonight to enjoy Riverbend, to enjoy downtown Chattanooga, to enjoy fireworks," police Chief David Roddy said. "An incident like this, where people just choose to inflict violence in our community, it is alarming. It is disturbing for us."
Dozens of officers were nearby providing security for the festival. They swarmed the area almost immediately and drew their weapons. The teenagers ran from the scene.
Officers located the two victims and chased the suspect, who pulled a gun on an officer, according to Chattanooga police spokesperson Trevor Tomas. The suspect was arrested and taken to the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center. The two victims' injuries are not considered life-threatening, according to Tomas.
The victims and suspect will not been identified due to their age. The suspect was charged with two counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
"We're grateful for the swift response of the Chattanooga Police Department and hope the two young victims recover quickly and completely," aquarium spokesman Thom Benson wrote in an email. "This is a community problem, and we will help however we can as we all work together to address the issues."
Aquarium security and Chattanooga police actively try to limit loitering outside the facility late at night, Benson wrote. The aquarium's free WiFi is turned off after hours, the facility has added off-duty officers, installed barriers, added security cameras and put in additional lighting.
The shooting is not believed to have been connected to Riverbend in any way, according to Roddy. Riverbend Executive Director Chip Baker called the incident "unfortunate" but said it "happened outside" the festival and didn't have additional comment.
Some nearby concert-goers traveling to and from the festival heard a loud pop as they waited to cross the intersection of Broad Street and Aquarium Way.
"Was that a gunshot or fireworks?" one person said — a question asked by several others at the same street corner as they waited for the traffic light to change.
One victim was lying on the ground just in front of the small man-made creek that flows in front of the aquarium's River Journey and Ocean Journey buildings. The victims were shot in the parking lot in front of the neighboring Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant, according to police.
"It's a tragic thing that happened to the young boys out there in downtown Chattanooga, which I consider a very safe and welcoming place," Puckett's manager David McLain said.
Police have not yet released a motive for the shooting. Anyone with additional information about the shooting is asked to call police at 423-698-2525. Callers can remain anonymous.
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