Gang Task Force calls for community support after shooting - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Gang Task Force calls for community support after shooting

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Police say 18-year-old Eric Fluellen was gunned down on 13th Avenue and is the latest victim in a string of shootings.

"Neighbors have to start taking care of each other, and families have to get morals back in their houses," says one woman.

Another witness says she heard guns shots and sirens shortly after. She looked out her front window and saw a body on her front yard.

"The guy ran from where he was shot at to our house and dropped dead right there."

Homicide teams and crime units swarm the area looking for clues early Tuesday morning.

Gang Task Force director Boyd Patterson has been on the job for about a year. The numbers show the violence isn't getting any better.

He says you can't predict these shootings, but when they happen, everyone has a part to play.

"When something like this happens, support the police in finding out who did what and support the witnesses so the cases don't fall through in court," Patterson says.

Another neighbor says, "It is upsetting that young people are dying so young and disappointing society doesn't care."

Patterson says he has a lot of work to do.

"Youth violence victimizes everyone that is a part of it. It is usually set off by something very very small."

His group has a long-term plan to rid the city of gangs.

Step one was to identify the problem and the way it impacts us. That's a big part of the way he spent his first year on the job.

Now he knows of about 40 gangs.

While the city struggles with its own gang problem, the group put together a nationwide model for other cities to follow.

"It is a long-term solution. You have to give it time. We are building something massive. You have to let that ground work be laid now."

Patterson says the next step is to target at-risk youth and those trying to leave a gang.

That plan is about two weeks away.

"These kids are easily identifiable. Catch them early. That is completely within our control. That is what we are going to do and try to continue in the future."

Patterson says by April he hopes to have phase three started.

This step involves working with several organizations and youth groups. He says they also plan to meet with the Chattanooga Police Department in hopes of seeing how the two groups can work together.

 

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