Several Chattanooga communities are reeling after four Mother's Day shootings left one man dead and three people injured in separate incidents that brought this year's shootings total for the city to 60.
A security guard at the Bella Vita Ultra Lounge, Johnny Sanders, 40, was fatally shot at 2 a.m. Sunday by an unruly guest Sanders had removed from the club, police said. Chattanooga police said video of the incident showed Andrew Wilson, 31, draw a pistol and shoot Sanders in the upper chest shortly after 2 a.m.map
But Sanders wasn't the only shooting victim that day — a woman and two men were taken to the hospital throughout the day in three more incidents that proved to be non-life-threatening.
At 6:45 a.m., police responded to the 3100 block of 15th Avenue to find Stacie Carter, 42, had been shot while sleeping.
Later that night at 9:20 p.m., police responded to a call about a person shot in the 1200 block of Tunnel Boulevard and discovered Casey Carter, 20, who had been injured in an apparent drive-by shooting.
Finally, at 11:18 p.m., Aaron Mitchell, 23, was found in the 200 block of West 38th Street after a call about a person shot.
"It's getting out of hand," said an elderly man who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. He lives near the scene of Sunday's fourth shooting, and while sitting with a lifelong friend on a porch on West 38th Street, he said the neighborhood has changed since a wave of gang violence broke out several weeks ago.
"This is a hot, hot street," he said. "You have to watch who you walk with because you might catch a bullet. There are seven or eight guys I see out here limping down the street because they got shot."
His friend agreed, saying, "Me and him used to be out here all night, but now as soon as it starts getting dark I go inside."
Just a few miles away in East Lake, at the scene where Stacie Carter was shot while sleeping in bed, one woman who also requested anonymity said more and more of her neighbors are calling in gunshots when they hear them, and she is one of them.
"I called the police and they were here within a minute," she said. "And it's numerous people calling gunshots in."
She and her husband are part of a neighborhood "Nextdoor" list that allows neighbors to communicate about incidents in the area, but her husband said problems are almost inevitable when the wrong people are allowed to live at the homes of their relatives and bring trouble with them.
"If you choose to let your kids stay in your house and you know they're gang-banging or dealing drugs, that's a chance you take," he said.
Other community members also have taken steps in response to violence in Chattanooga, choosing not to rely on their phones as the only line of defense.
Ayesh Bausahmad, who runs a corner store just a few doors down from Sunday's shooting scene on Tunnel Boulevard, said he got into a shootout with some people in the first month he moved to that location almost 15 years ago.
"I'll defend myself. I don't worry about anybody," he said.
But even if he is confident about his own safety, Bausahmad said he's still seen the direct effects of this most recent wave of violence.
"One of my customers was killed," he said.
He said Cornelius Douglas, a 27-year-old man who was fatally shot April 24 on Carousel Road, was a familiar face in his store. Douglas had been arrested multiple times in Hamilton County on charges ranging from possession of a controlled substance to attempted first-degree murder.
"It just doesn't make any sense," Bausahmad said. "He used to come in here all the time."
With few signs that the violence will slow or stop anytime soon, some residents are worried they're going to get caught in the crossfire. Back on West 38th Street, a young mother standing with her 3-year-old son at the bus stop said she never lets him or his 8-year-old sister out of her sight.
"I'm so, so scared for my children," she said. "They're upset with me because they want to come out and play, but I won't let them without supervision.
"I'm tired. I'm really, really tired of the violence."
Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6731.