Mayor and Police Chief to address Coolidge Park shooting
By WRCB Staff
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield and Police Chief Bobby Dodd have called a 2:00 p.m. news conference Monday to address the shooting "incident" at Coolidge Park on Saturday night.
Nearly 300 people, mostly teenagers, gathered on a bright full moon night at Coolidge Park Saturday. Before the night was over, the unsupervised teens were fighting, firing shots, and some of them went to jail.
"It was just a huge group of unsupervised kids, and tensions just flared. It was a recipe for disaster," Sgt. Rick Mincy told our partners at the Times Free Press.
According to a news release emailed to Channel 3 Eyewitness News, the "disturbance" began behind the Subway on Frazier Avenue after a large group gathered.
"Although a gunman has not been located, a firearm was recovered near the scene of the fights," Sgt. Jerri Weary said in the news release.
"Due to increased patrol in the park, several juveniles were apprehended and arrested on various offenses related to the fighting."
It is estimated the Saturday night fights involved 300 people who were fighting, watching, or running away.
Mincy said one juvenile was arrested for trying attack an officer. Mincy is the one who tackled the young suspect.
The incident is similar to another almost exactly one year ago. On March 28, 2010 more than 200 teens gathered in response to text messages and social media. As police tried to break up the crowd, shots were fired.
Five people were shot in the legs during the chaos. Anthony Frieson, 18, was charged with five counts of attempted first-degree murder in the case. Taurean Patillo, 18, was charged with five counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Initially, former Police Chief Freeman Cooper told the media the 2010 incident was not gang related and called it a "flash mob." Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield called it an "isolated" incident. Cooper retired a few months after the 2010 Coolidge Park shootings.
The city increased the number of patrol officers in the area following the 2010 incident.
Richard Beeland, spokesperson for the Mayor's office, said Mayor Littlefield and Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd are evaluating Saturday night's events to determine if additional patrol officers are needed.
Beeland also said we can expect to hear from the mayor Monday.
Sgt. Weary tells Channel 3 that every CPD chief over the last few years has asked for more personnel and resources because of the growing population.
"It is a necessary component of maintaining an orderly society," said Weary.
Weary added, "Chattanooga, like most thriving cities, is experiencing patterns of criminal behavior that are troublesome but definitely not unusual."
It is unclear whether the 2011 Coolidge Park shooting is gang related and has not been cited as a "flash mob".
Channel 3 Eyewitness News will stay on this developing story and bring you updates throughout the day on WRCBtv.com. If you were at Coolidge Park on Saturday or have video and photos, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Your information can remain anonymous.