Residents describe the fatal shooting at Douglas Heights
Residents at Douglas Heights, an apartment building in Chattanooga, are on high alert after a shooting sent three people to the hospital. Chattanooga Police confirm one of the individuals has died.
Officers responded to Douglas Heights shortly after 4 o'clock Sunday morning after multiple shots fired calls. Douglas Heights is a student housing center near the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.
"What do I do? What can I do? I was just sitting there having an anxiety attack on the phone with my mom crying," said resident Amelia Ike.
She described the morning as complete terror.
"I had a friend who died in a shooting in November so I am kind of really jumpy about that stuff already," Ike told Channel 3. She says she heard gunshots around 3:50 a.m. She described it as seven really loud bangs. She says she knew she had to hide.
"I just immediately panicked and ran and hid between the spot in my bathroom and my closet because it's not next to the wall I share with the hallway," Ike recalled.
The apartment went on lockdown after police arrived. Residents say it was chaos.
"Both streets were blocked off, tape was everywhere, we couldn't get in, elevators weren't working," said Douglas Heights resident Megan Polk.
Residents of the building say it's hard to go home knowing someone was killed in their building.
"It doesn't make me feel good honestly. It makes me feel not safe," said resident Joy Wolinski.
Polk added, "That could have been me or my close friends and that literally happened two floors below me."
Those who live in the building say they are given key cards but often times doors are left wide open.
"A lot of people that aren't residents here will get in and it's really easy to get in if you don't have a key. That is part of the reason I'm moving out because that is obviously terrifying," Wolinski told Channel 3.
Polk says she feels management isn't doing enough to protect the students who live at Douglas Heights.
"People are getting shot, the homeless come in and out, the doors are kicked open, anybody is coming in here," Polk said, "We live here in the student living environment where it's supposed to be safe near campus and there's nothing really safe about it."
Channel 3 was denied an on-camera interview with management at Douglas Heights. We reached out to them through email and was given the following statement:
"Early this morning, there was a shooting in our community. The Chattanooga Police Department responded quickly, and we’ve been working closely with them to ensure the safety of our residents and provide them with as much information as possible to identify the shooter and bring them to justice.
We are deeply saddened and angered by havoc and pain the shooter senselessly brought upon our community today. Our hearts mourn as we think of the victims, their loved ones and all those impacted.
We are committed to the safety of our residents, their guests and our staff. That’s why firearms are strictly banned from our community and surveillance monitoring is used throughout the building. We will do all that we can to assist local law enforcement in the hours and days ahead. Out of respect for their ongoing investigation, we will not be commenting further on the specifics of the incident. If you have any questions about the shooting, please contact the Chattanooga Police at (423) 698-2525.
What we can tell you is that the Chattanooga Police believes this to be an isolated incident and does not suspect any present threat to the safety of those at Douglas Heights." Landmark Properties spokesperson
The spokesperson also said beginning immediately the company will be extending security patrol hours on the property. Additionally, access to the building will be limited, at 9:00 p.m. daily, access will be limited to the main entrance and main lobby elevator. During high traffic times, a security officer will be posted in the main lobby to verify and log the ID of all who enter the premises and will also check IDs during patrols on the property. Residents and guests will not be able to enter the building using other entrances and will only be able to use the main lobby elevator once inside.