Neighbor wonders when victim, now shot twice, will walk away from gang life
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- An East Chattanooga business owner says she's tired of the gang bangers fighting over turf, near her corner of tunnel boulevard.
It got a little too real, Tuesday, when a young man showed up in her parking lot, with a bullet wound.
Police haven't called it gang-related but neighbors have no doubt.
The victim, they say, has been a victim before.
Willette Sexton cuts hair but Tuesday afternoon, her corner of Tunnel Boulevard is where 19-year-old Brandon "Little Bubba" Arnold fled and bled, with a bullet in his right hip.
Making her, by default, his first responder.
"They throw up their gang signs and they play this role; because that's all it is--it's a role," she says. "This young man was afraid. The question he kept repeating to me was am I gonna die? I kept telling him, you're not gonna die."
Police are trying to figure out how he got there.
"Right now, we're still trying to find the crime scene," Sgt. Jerri Weary says.
Arnold has told investigators he was shot only three blocks away, but he doesn't know by whom.
"He just gave the physical description of what he saw at the time he said he was hit," Sgt. Weary says.
Based on that, police are looking for a young, light-skinned black man with dreadlocks, driving a white coupe; possibly a Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
Officers were on scene already, investigating a drive-by shooting from an hour and a half earlier, Sexton says.
She'd told Arnold to go home. Either he either didn't walk far enough away from trouble, or he walked right back into it, for the second time.
Rewind to June 22, 2006. Arnold, then 13, wound up with a bullet in one of his legs after someone opened fire among 50 children, barely 500 feet from Sexton's salon.
"They'd come down here looking for his older brother," then-Lt. Tim Carroll told Eyewitness News at the time.
"Wow," Sexton says.
She hadn't heard about the previous encounter but she knew enough about Arnold's ties to forbid him and his friends from hanging around her parking lot.
"It wasn't the fact that they were doing anything,"she says. "It was because of what they stand for."
Arnold is out of the hospital, but laying low.
He told officers he lives on Doolittle. But neighbors say the house in question has been vacant for months.
Other neighbors say he lives with his sister, barely three blocks from Sexton's salon.
Sexton can't abide the street code of silence.
"Had that been my son laying down on the ground, I would want someone to let me know--who is trying to kill my child," she says. "So why won't you open up and tell who it is if you know, who it is?"
Arnold's told police his attacker was a light-skinned black man with dreadlocks, driving a white two-door, maybe a Chevy Monte Carlo.
Neighbors say the earlier drive-by had three men in a gray Cadillac.
So far, police say they have no leads and no motive.