Chattanooga police chief reflects on July 16th attacks - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga police chief reflects on July 16th attacks

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Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher. Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Immediately after the first shots rang out, the community along with the country turned to one man for answers. 

"What originally seemed like a relatively routine incident of a shot fired at a building quickly, quickly evolved into community members, service members who were harmed," Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said. 

He was on the road to Nashville for a conference when the alerts started coming in rapidly: service members were harmed; one of his officers, wounded. 

"My number one priority was to go see our officer who had been injured," he said.

Suddenly the Chattanooga community and even the nation were turning to him as Chattanooga's top cop for clarity among the chaos. 

When thinking back to that day, Fletcher is quick to turn the spotlight off him and to those who responded. 

"All I did was recount the facts that I had observed and had been told to me and let the world know what the great men and women of the Chattanooga Police Department and Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and other agencies did to make sure that situation was resolved successfully," he added. 

The first few hours that followed are a blur as Fletcher worked around the clock giving his officers the support and direction they needed. 

It would be nearly a year later when his officer who was shot in the line of duty returned to work. That moment will always stand out. 

"I spent a great deal of time thinking and worrying about him returning and seeing him on two feet in the Chattanooga police uniform with his big smile and broad shoulders is something I'll remember the rest of my life, not just the rest of my career," he said. 

Returning to the site is a little emotional for Chattanooga's chief, as it's the place where five men lost their lives and the home to an attack that put Chattanooga in a national spotlight. 

"When you think about incidents like this, you think about bigger cities and to see that we were able to have a part in a national/international incident, it can be a little overwhelming at times," Fletcher said. 

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