Police hope conscience trumps fear to catch killer
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – Chattanooga Police are hopeful that surveillance pictures, taken inside the Okie Dokie Mart at 1900 Roanoke Street Tuesday night, will lead them to two men who can tell them what led to the shooting that took Cordarrius Armour's life two weeks shy of his 23rd birthday.
"It's just hitting right now," neighborhood advocate Jerry Woods says.
Armour was shot in the chest shortly after he walked out the Okie Dokie's front door. He died shortly thereafter. Woods knew him through one of Armour's brothers, who graduated from one of his ministry's programs recently.
"It was real traumatic because it actually hit close to us," Woods says. "We're right by him (Armour's brother) and his family. It's senseless."
Woods describes Armour's death as a random killing. But Armour's arrest record indicates he could well have made enemies.
At age 18, he faced counts of disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing, and two charges of assault.
At 19, he was charged with domestic assault, drug offenses, and two more counts of trespassing.
He would draw another trespassing charge at 20; still another at 21.
"Prior to about three months or so ago, things had leveled off and died down (in the neighborhood)," says The Rev. Gerald O'Guinn, of the Love Fellowship Baptist Church.
His church, the Okie Dokie, and Woods' ministry headquarters border the Harriet Tubman Housing Development in East Chattanooga.
Woods has no doubt some neighbors know who killed Armour, and why.
"And that's a real tough situation, because if you want to speak up and try to correct a situation then you're jeopardizing your life at the same time," Woods says. "It's real tough."
Woods' ministry, and The Rev. O'Guinn's are trying to help neighbors learn to rely on one another, and on police, to keep them safe, and to keep their tips confidential.
Love Fellowship Baptist Church opened seven years ago.
"Right about a year, year and a half later, we started seeing more in that trust factor," The Rev. O'Guinn says. "It's slowly kind of building."
"There's obviously a problem making somebody go rob, there's obviously something that makes people go shoot," Woods says. "Whether it's lack of food, lack of money, lack of employment, or lack of somebody to talk to."
Trust and hope may become more difficult to maintain if Tubman itself goes under the wrecking ball.
"If this is gonna be gone anyway, what are we fighting for," Woods asks.
Woods had wanted to get Cordarrius Armour into some of his programs.
Instead, he finds himself counseling a brother in loss.
"He (Armour's brother) is just shook up, and nobody really knows. That's the worst part right now. Nobody really knows."