Chattanooga Police say despite violent weekend, it is making pro - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga Police say despite violent weekend, it is making progress with Violence Reduction Initiative

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - One person has died and five others were injured after gun fire rang out on Chattanooga's streets. Four shootings happened over the weekend.

A man was shot standing near his mailbox on Carousel Road Saturday night. Just hours later, two people were critically injured by bullets in the Golden Gateway Apartment complex. Sunday afternoon, a domestic shooting left a man with non-life threatening injuries. Then early Monday morning, a 28-year-old man was shot and killed on Central Avenue. 

There were more tears in the streets of Chattanooga early Monday morning. Police say 28-year-old Terrence Bivens was killed from multiple gunshot wounds. The shooting happened in front 'Skip' Eberhardt's home, a well-known community activist. He tells Channel 3 Bivens was at his house playing cards, when a fight "over a cell phone and a set of keys" broke out. He insists the shooting is not gang related. Chattanooga Police say otherwise.

"There has been some indication that there may be some retaliatory actions going back and forth between different groups," says Chattanooga Assistant Police Chief Tracy Arnold.

CPD leadership says it is increasing it's "community policing" efforts.

Six months in to the Violence Reduction Initiative, despite a violent weekend, it says the department is making progress.

"Our murders show that we're up in murders but our actual overall non-fatal shootings have reduced from last year," says Lt. Todd Royval. 

There have been 95 shootings so far this year, compared to 102 overall last year.

Lt. Royval says since March, 90 people associated with the area's most violent gangs have been arrested for breaking the law after refusing to accept help. Public Safety Director Paul Smith says they invite known gang members on parole to come learn about a better way.  

"Over 60 of those individuals have received jobs. Twenty-three are in mentorship programs right now. And seven are in GED programs," says Smith.

"We're doing it better than other cities that don't have this cohesiveness," says Royval.

At the same time, police admit some of the victims and wanted suspects involved in this past week's shootings have been a part of those recent call-ins. 

"Until they understand what we will really go through with our promises, some of them aren't going to get it," says Royval.

"As we continue this work and stay the course, we'll see some changes," says Smith.

Channel 3 asked if the department has established any set goals or benchmarks with decreasing crime numbers. Lieutenant Royval says no, because you can not compare Chattanooga's success to other VRI cities with different populations and different gang problems. 
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