Makes no difference whether or not the girl was purposefully shot, investigators believe she was not. The idea is to get someone so careless as to fire a gun into a crowd critically injuring her out of the neighborhood and off the street.

Safety first, justice will follow, as will Crime Stoppers cash.

"You can't walk around in our city with a handgun and just fire indiscriminately and hit a nine-year-old girl," Chattanooga Police Sgt. Adam Emery declared.

As for how it happened, just before 1:00 am Sunday, something went wrong within a group of 20 to 30 people who were outside on Doolittle Street, just a couple of blocks back from Tunnel Boulevard. Then, whatever the argument, things escalated.

"It's an ongoing dispute by several parties who know one another," Sgt. Emery said. "Numerous people were out there who witnessed this, and people know who the shooter is, and we want to find out who he is hold him accountable for this."

Investigators believe the girl was hit by a stray bullet. Her injury was said to have been life-threatening at the time, and she is now said to be in critical condition.

"I don't see how it won't change her life forever," Sgt. Emery continued. "We definitely want to hold these people accountable."

If you are scared that telling what you know will put you or your family in danger, Crime Stoppers is the answer. Or, if a little no-questions-asked cash could help you in your current situation, again Crime Stoppers can help. We will never ask your name, so investigators will not know who you are. And we have up to $1,000 available for your good information.

"We know people out there know who the shooter is," Emery added. "They know him; they have not come forward. We're pleading for them to do that."

Maybe you do not know the shooter, but you have heard something in the ensuing days. You never know what information will be valuable to investigators in getting this person off the street. We would love to hear from you.

"We don't only wanna know who the shooter is," Emery explained, "we want to know other names of those present so we can talk to them, as well."

You will have to pardon officers if they seem to take this case personally.

"I actually have a nine-year-old at home with me," Emery added, "and they should be able to enjoy the summer, have fun, be able to play outside, and again, someone not introduce a gun into an argument where shots are fired and a nine-year-old is hit."

Help get the shooter behind bars by the time this young girl is released from the hospital. If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at 698-3333.

That number is manned `round the clock. We will never ask who you are, and up to $1,000 is on the table.