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A Chattanooga man was arrested Tuesday after throwing a gun over the side of the Walnut Street Bridge, causing it to fire one shot after hitting the concrete below, according to Hamilton County court records.

Chattanooga police were called to the north side of the bridge just before 1:30 a.m., court records show. The person who made the 911 call had already left when police arrived, but dispatch gave police a suspect description based on what the caller said.

As police searched for the suspect, they heard a gunshot nearby in Coolidge Park, court records state.

Not long after, police detained two men who fit the description and were on the Walnut Street Bridge. One of them, 18-year-old Brandon Craighead Jr., admitted to tossing the gun, court records show.

Police found a silver, semi-automatic handgun directly under the bridge in Coolidge Park, court records state. One spent shell casing was found nearby. The gun was scanned and determined to not be stolen.

"It appeared that the impact of the gun hitting the concrete caused the gun to go off," an officer wrote in an arrest affidavit.

Other people had been in the park, including a "small child with his family," police noted.

Craighead told police he was walking with a group of friends. They were headed north on the bridge toward Harry's gas station on Frazier Avenue when they were approached by the man who called 911.

The man started a verbal altercation with the group, Craighead told police. His group tried to walk away, but the man kept following them. At one point, "the altercation began to escalate," and Craighead admitted to brandishing his firearm.

But he said he "did not point it at the [man, nor] did he threaten him with it," court records state.

Craighead told police, "the only reason why he showed the [man] his gun was to get him to leave them along [sic]."

Police then found the man who called 911 and "quickly determined [he] was highly intoxicated," court records state.

Officers asked the man to describe what happened, but he was "very unclear and only provided a few details," though he did admit to approaching the group because he "wanted to talk to them" but was unsure of who had the gun.

"Due to the high level of intoxication and the uncertainty of who it was who had the gun," no charges were filed in connection to the alleged assault.

Police did, however, charge Craighead with reckless endangerment and unlawful carrying or possession of a firearm, according to court records.

He was arrested and booked into the Hamilton County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 5.

Contact Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter@HughesRosana.

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