FIRST ON 3: Victim of Christmas club shooting tells his story
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - For the first time since Sunday's shooting outside Club Fathom we are hearing from one of the nine victims.
"It came through, came up, and shot out this way," said 19-year-old Keontae Howard, tracing the path of the bullet that passed through his body.
A piece of gauze now covers the gaping hole left in his shoulder.
"We are going over towards our car, we see a group of people, but we weren't paying them no attention," said Howard, replaying the moments before he was hit, "then all you hear is gunshots."
He started running, not realizing he was hit until he was a few blocks away.
"The shots stopped and I started looking for my little sister," said Howard, "I didn't know I had been shot, finally I looked, I was trying to figure out what it was I was feeling, and I saw my shirt had a hole in it."
Howard says he did not get a look at the shooter, it was hard to tell what direction the bullet came from.
He does know a few of the other victims, but he says police got one thing wrong -- this shooting was not between rival gangs.
"Me and my friends who got hit, it didn't have nothing to do with no gang stuff," said Howard, "I don't think they'll be able to blame it on gangs, because most people who were hit were innocent by standards."
Howard says he has spent time at Club Fathom in the past, but was not aware the club's owner also calls it a church.
"I didn't know that, I thought it was like an old art museum at first or something," he said.
Church, club, or combination, Howard says if the city gets its way and shuts Club Fathom down the violence will move somewhere else.
"It ain't going to change what people do, they'll find somewhere else to do the same thing," he said.
Howard says he, and his friends, will not return to Club Fathom.
He says all of his friends have been released from the hospital, except one. Howard tells Channel 3, a juvenile was shot three times, once in the pelvis and twice in the stomach. He is still recovering at Erlanger.
Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Chattanooga Police Department released the name of the four adult victims.
Thomas Armstrong, age 18, suffered a gunshot wound to the left knee.
Juane Joseph, age 18, suffered a gunshot wound to the upper left leg and was admitted to the hospital.
Keontae Howard, age 19, suffered a gunshot wound to the left shoulder.
Charquell Appling, age 19, suffered a gunshot wound to the right thigh
CITY LEADERS TAKE STEPS TO CLOSE CLUB
Chattanooga city attorneys filed paperwork Wednesday asking a judge for permission to pad lock the doors to Club Fathom. They also want Tim Reid, operator of Club Fathom, to be kept from going near the property.
Mayor Ron Littlefield says Club Fathom is a problem and police records back his claim.
Channel 3 confirmed more than two dozen assault charges over a five year period, stemming from parties at the downtown club.