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Assistant District Attorney Cameron Williams speaks to people gathered in the courtroom before jury selection begins in the first-degree murder trial of Santory Johnson in the Hamilton County Criminal Court on Monday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Johnson faces charges in the shooting death of Christopher Jones, Jr., on Oct. 4, 2013.

After the gunshot came a pause. Amber Rushing stopped on the railroad tracks separating her from Chandler Avenue, from the father of her children, and listened.

When another nine shots rang out, she took off her shoes and ran.

On Chandler Avenue, cars peeled away, their tires squealing in the darkness. Rushing couldn't make out any familiar faces in the pandemonium. Then, in the middle of the street, she saw Christopher Jones Jr. lying motionless, blood on his T-shirt, the front door of a white Taurus swinging near his head.

"I just started screaming," Rushing testified Tuesday in Hamilton County Criminal Court.

That testimony came after opening arguments in the first-degree murder case of Santory Johnson, 37, who prosecutors say fatally shot Jones during a house party in the 4000 block of Chandler Avenue on Oct. 4, 2013. Amanda Dunn and Eliza Epps, his defense attorneys, say Johnson is not guilty. Before testimony and opening statements, Dunn and prosecutors selected a 12-person jury with two alternates.

Prosecutors say Jones texted Rushing saying he was ready to leave after spending the evening with 30 friends, playing cards and drinking on Johnson's front yard. So Rushing hopped into the car with two of Jones's cousins and his grandmother and arrived minutes later. Because cars lined both sides of the road, they idled in the middle of the street, waiting for Jones.

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Santory Johnson is led into the courtroom of Judge Tom Greenholtz as jury selection begins in his first-degree murder trial in the Hamilton County Criminal Court on Monday, Oct. 27, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Johnson faces charges in the shooting death of Christopher Jones, Jr., on Oct. 4, 2013.

Instead, Johnson approached the car and asked them to park their car. When they balked, Johnson pulled out a gun and fired one shot into the air.

"We didn't understand why because Chris was walking onto the street to get into the car and we weren't blocking traffic or anything," said Shondrika Jones, a cousin who also testified Tuesday.

Jones, 24, chided his longtime friend for firing with his grandmother in the car, then left. He later returned, Shondrika Jones said, because he wanted Johnson to explain his behavior. His girlfriend followed behind after handing over the keys to her white Taurus.

"He didn't go there to threaten Mr. Johnson," state prosecutor Kristen Spires told the jury. "He just wanted to talk to him."

But their conversation turned to argument, and after telling Jones to leave, Johnson trailed behind the 24-year-old, opening fire on the passenger window and, later, the driver's side. "He shot Chris Jones over and over and over and over," Spires said.

On the defense side, Epps told jurors to focus on reliability, return and reasonable doubt.

"In the testimony, you'll hear inconsistencies," Epps said. "Look for them. What doesn't match up?

"It was a dark Friday night," Epps continued. "A party in the front yard. Several people were coming and going. Music was playing loudly. Is his testimony complete, or is it selective?"

Epps returned to one central point: why did Jones return?

"The truth is, that night you came back to the scene on foot because CJ [Christopher Jones] was mad, didn't you?" Epps said during Rushing's cross examination.

No, Rushing said, the incident upset Jones, but that's not why she went to check on him.

"I came back because I wanted to make sure everybody was OK," she said. "When there's alcohol, drugs involved, gambling, I want to make sure everything's OK."

Testimony continues today in Judge Tom Greenholtz's courtroom.

Contact Zack Peterson at 423-757-6347 or zpeterson@ timesfreepress.com. Follow @zackpeterson918.

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