Road rage or self-defense? One critical, one charged after shooting follows crash
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- If Josh Mabry had seen what he heard, he'd know whether to trust his gut.
"I heard a couple of gunshots, looked out my door and heard four or five more gunshots," he says. "The other vehicle must have had a weapon of some sort because I heard crossfire."
Mabry lives on Jersey Pike, just north of where it intersects with Bonny Oaks Road. Upon venturing outside, just after midnight Black Friday, he saw a dark Oldsmobile butted against a dumpster in a parking lot next to the deli. Slumped over the wheel: 35-year-old Jerry Martin II.
"According to witnesses at the scene, Mr. Martin ran into the back of Mr. Chitty," Chattanooga Police Sgt. Jerri Weary says.
"When he (Martin) hit the tail end of the truck,he put it in reverse and fled (sic)," Mabry says.
"Mr. Martin was able to whisper to police that he had been shot," Sgt. Weary says.
At least once. In the face and neck. He remains in critical condition at Erlanger.
Police charged the other driver, Kevin Chitty, 43, with attempted murder and aggravated assault.
Chitty reportedly has admitted opening fire, but claims it was self-defense.
"He felt his personal safety was in jeopardy, and that Mr. Martin pulled a gun on him," Sgt. Weary says. "We did not find a gun on Mr. Martin."
Surveillance video could provide some answers to settle who did what, when. The Midnight Oil station has two security cameras pointed toward the intersection. It's not clear what those cameras recorded.
But court records paint quite a contrast between the suspect and victim.
Jerry Martin II has been arrested 47 times since 1994.
The charges include three counts of assault, multiple arrests for drug possession including cocaine, marijuana, and prescription painkillers, two counts of driving under the influence, two counts of theft, and a series of driving violation ranging from speeding to endangerment.
Kevin Chitty's record shows only three traffic violations, the most recent was eight years ago.
Mabry has decided not to wait around to see how it plays out in the judicial system.
"I'd been watching the news and said there's not a single shooting in Chattanooga over Thanksgiving. I must have jinxed it," he says. "Because, not two hours later, seven gunshots. I'm moving this weekend"