Witness to Bennett Ave. shooting says slow response to help - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Witness to Bennett Ave. shooting says slow response to help

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- The neighborhood surrounding Bennett Avenue is in shock after witnesses say a 13-year-old girl was shot in the back of the head Saturday night.

A witness we interviewed says there is much more to the story.

The woman does not want to be identified for fear of retaliation. She claims it took too long for emergency crews to come and police advised neighbors to not talk to the media.

"This was all a total shock. A total shock," says a woman who witnessed the shooting. 

The trauma of what happened on Bennett Avenue is hard to take in for those who saw it.

What is even harder to comprehend are the agonizing minutes she says it took for the 13-year-old girl to get help.

"It was 20 minutes the little girl laid out on the ground. We have a fire hall not even a block and a half up the street," she says. 

Chattanooga Police say that is not true, saying it only took about three minutes.

But the witness says people kept calling 911 as the girl was bleeding in the street.

"I think that's entirely too long for anyone to sit outside on the ground shot, whether it be black, white, male, female."

As the girl remains in critical condition, she holds on to hope.

"Had that little girl not got to hospital when she did. She would have died."

She also says police told witnesses not to talk media about what happened.

"They told us not to talk to the news station. They said because you all add to the situation. As they say, 'put fuel to the fire.' Not necessarily giving the right story but they're making it seem like y'all are going to make the situation worse than it is because we're over here in the community that we have to live in," she says.

With a shooter out there, she is scared and says someone has to speak out.

"They make us be in fear of you all and it's bad that you have to hide your face or try to...to be safe. You know what I'm saying?"

She says the family involved does not know where to turn.

"It's just an outrage. If you can't talk to the media and you can't talk to the police, who do you go to?"

Because of the weekend, we were unable to independently verify the 911 call logs.

Channel 3 will push for that information this week.

In response to claims of being told not to talk to media, spokesman Nathan Hartwig replied: "I don't know of any officer that would tell someone not to speak with media."

The woman says she and her family plan to voice concerns at city council on Tuesday.

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