Rec Center building manager speaks out after shooting
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- Eastdale Rec Center Facility Manager Dank Hawkins was getting ready to close Wednesday evening around 8:00 p.m. Only a few teenagers were inside the building. Ellijah Fleming was on the basketball court before he got ready to leave.
"He approached the doorway here and stopped in the middle of the doorway," explains Hawkins.
Witnesses tell Channel 3 two cars were parked outside and the men were arguing with Fleming, who was still inside.
"They were having some words back and forth as he was in the doorway," Hawkins says. "As I picked up on the conversation, I left my computer, walked almost to the door and I heard the gunshot."
Fleming was shot in the shoulder. "I immediately took him into the office area, put him in a separate closet, [the] other two teenagers [I] put them in the restroom," Hawkins says. He called police and waited for help.
Fleming tells Channel 3 the shooting was not gang related. However, nearby residents may need some convincing.
"I can't sit on my porch because I'm so close to it," says Jesse Igo. "Do not retaliate because you are our future."
"I try to keep a step ahead and do every precaution I can to protect my babies that come into this rec center. This is a safe haven for them," says Hawkins.
Hawkins wants the community to know everyone under his roof has to abide by his rules. "You can't come up here and do your gang activity here," he says.
Ricky Rogers, 19, has been charged with attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault in connection with the shooting. He's in custody at the Hamilton County Jail.