UPDATE: Shooting victims say police haven't returned their calls - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Shooting victims say police haven't returned their calls

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - UPDATE: Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher is responding to a story Channel 3 told you about last week after two men, who are victims in separate shootings, said they have been left in the dark by their investigators.

“Everybody involved in a crime has a traumatic experience. What they say at the scene of the crime, may not be how they feel,” Fletcher said.

Chief Fletcher explains to Channel 3 how his detectives handle investigations.

“They work on them based on the ability to investigate the case,” he said.

About 15 detectives make up Chattanooga’s Major Crimes Unit. They handle cases like homicides and shootings. Fletcher says his investigators work to make contact with every victim.

“Every victim should be contacted. To find out if they’ve learned more. If they’ve changed their mind about whether or not they want to participate and give them that opportunity. And we have a very good track record of making sure we communicate with victims,” he added.

But with training, military obligations and illness Fletcher says detectives aren’t in their office every day, sometimes making communication tough.

“But they do things like make themselves available like text message and provide e-mails so that there are multiple avenues of communication,” he said.

Fletcher says he wants to improve that, like adding out of office voicemails and e-mails that include numbers to people victims can contact when they can’t get in touch with their investigator.

“When we have serious crimes with victims who want to provide us with information, those often times get investigated a little bit more quickly,” Fletcher said.

Detectives triage cases based on leads, evidence, timeliness and cooperation. But all have the same goal: to bring justice for victims of crime.

Fletcher tells Channel 3 both men from Friday’s story have been contacted by their investigators.

If you can’t get in touch with a detective, police ask you to call the administrative line at 423-643-5000 and ask to speak with the detective’s supervisor.

Some shooting victims in Chattanooga are saying they're frustrated because they can't get police to return their phone calls. While some are curious if an arrest was made in their case, others say they've called with leads -- but aren't sure if anyone's listened to their messages.

Channel 3 spoke with two victims who were involved in two separate shootings earlier this summer. Both said they've had trouble getting in contact with the detective on their case, and both men are on edge because their shooters are still out there.

"I've called them a bunch. I know they stay busy, but I haven't had a phone call back or anything," said Brandon Langford, who was shot during a home invasion two months ago on Standifer Gap Road.

"When I opened the door, three young black dudes ran in. It just so happened the one I ran after had a gun and he shot me at the bottom of the steps," said Langford, pointing to the scar on his leg where the bullet narrowly missed his artery. He's still on crutches and can't work his job at Fed Ex.

Langford said he's tried calling the Chattanooga Police detective on his case -- without much luck.

"I don't know what's going on with the case or anything," he said.

Police said a warrant has been issued for Cindy Lynn Thornton for conspiracy to commit robbery at Langford's apartment, and that the detective on the case is currently on military leave.

Police noted they spoke with Langford on July 7th about items stolen during the robbery, but Langford feels like he's in the dark.

"It's very frustrating, I don't know the guys who shot me," he said. "I don't want to be riding around and they see me somewhere, be like 'Hey, there's that guy' and shoot me."

Just three days after Langford was shot, "a guy just popped out with a bandanna and a flatbill [hat] and popped off two shots," said Kyle Worley, who was shot behind his home on East 14th Street.

Worley didn't know much the night of the shooting, and police said he told them, he "didn't really want to pursue the matter."

But the next day, Worley found some evidence: a neighbor's surveillance tape and a receipt left in the backyard shed from the night of the shooting. The suspect was hiding in the shed before shots were fired, and Worley thinks the receipt might belong to his shooter.

"It's got the time stamp on it, the address, and location of Little Caesar's. So I was like, OK, there's a good chance one of those guys dropped it. Because I know no one was back there that day, it's always locked up," said Worley.

He called the detective on the case, but still hasn't heard back after nearly two months.

"I never actually ended up talking to him," Worley said. "The first time I left a voice mail, second time he just didn't pick up. But I figured a voice mail saying all that stuff would warrant some sort of response."

"Just let me know something, that way I'm not just sitting in the dark," said Langford.

Chattanooga Police released a statement saying, "Detectives are working diligently, on a daily basis, to ensure they follow every available lead in every case." If you cannot get in touch with a detective, police ask you call the administrative line, (423) 643-5000, and ask to speak with the detective's supervisor.
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