Four New Year's Day shootings: Chief Fletcher and VRI leaders as - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Four New Year's Day shootings: Chief Fletcher and VRI leaders ask for community's help

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -  Four shootings in just two days into the new year. Early Thursday morning, two men were killed in separate shootings in the city. One on Dorris street, another on Brainerd Road.
       
A third and fourth shooting sent two victims to the hospital, and both are expected to be okay.

Police have not yet said whether any of the shootings are related, but have gone as far to say at least two of them might be connected in some way.

As Chattanooga police investigate four shootings on New Year's Day, Chief Fred Fletcher is reminded of many changes he's made to the department since taking the job.

Fletcher says he still thinks his officers are making progress in the city.

"I don't think that the first two days of 2015, as tragic as they were, and offended as we all are by that behavior, indicate a seed change."

The police chief met with other city leaders, including the district attorney, and members of the VRI to coordinate a plan of action, just as they do after any major shooting or homicide in the city.

"In the coming days we will have extra officers move from other assignments to these areas," said Chief Fletcher, "areas where we think they're more at risk today perhaps than on a normal day."

Chief Fletcher call those areas community hot spots, where shootings and other violence often take place. Officers have been using data on past statistics to patrol certain areas more often.

Several neighbors of the recent shooting victims told Channel 3 they were scared to talk, fearful these unknown suspects would somehow find them.
    
Chief Fletcher is asking them to come forward with information.

"These crimes we're investigating," he said, "The people were somewhere before they committed the crimes, and they may have been doing something that gives us clues on who they were."
    
The same sentiment that is being echoed across the community, is being felt by city leaders: feelings of frustration with the recent violence.
    
The leader of the city's Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI) says he feels the same way.

"We have too many situations where the victim, young black male, looks just like the suspects, young black male," said Paul Smith, Public Safety Coordinator and VRI leader.
    
On Thursday the VRI's effectiveness was called into question by local NAACP President Dr. Elenora Woods.

"It can not be done by just one entity alone, it takes the whole community to change this situation," said Smith, "This should be a wake up call to the community that the work still needs to be done."
    
Smith says the first steps to improving the city's hot spots have been taken, but there's still a long road ahead.

"Community and police walked together in four neighborhoods on New Year's Eve," said Smith, "They didn't get to south side and that's where a shooting happened. They didn't get to Brainerd, and that's where a shooting happens."

The four areas Smith references are Windsor Court, Woodlawn Apartments, East Lake and parts of the west side.
    
Police still do not have any suspects in any of the shootings on New Year's Day.  

Anyone with information is asked to call Chattanooga Police.


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