9-1-1 call sheds new light on gun scare at UTC
It's been nearly two weeks since a 9-1-1 call sparked panic and a manhunt at UTC. Police responded to the call of a man with a gun walking toward campus. We now know the person was actually an off duty Chattanooga police officer.
Channel 3 obtained a recording of the call as part of an open records request. The caller remained calm while describing what he saw.
"There was a, walking on East 8th Street, over where campus is, there was this guy. He was dressed up in what looked like a ‘Chatt’ police uniform,” he said. “But I didn't see a patrol car or anything. He was walking down the street with like a big long barrel gun."
Both the Chattanooga Police Department and UTC police responded, looking for the suspect.
"We take every report, no matter what it is, we take it seriously,” UTC Police Chief Robert Ratchfort said that day. “And so until we can find out otherwise whether the incident has actually occurred, we're going to respond as if it were the actual event."
Police got reports of a suspicious person near the university's Fletcher Hall, leading to the evacuation of the building, while the rest of the campus remained open.
"Officers moved into the area and just did basically a search to make sure there wasn't a threat,” Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy said. “If there was an individual, then make sure we got in there to address what was going on.”
At the scene, Roddy said the incident was a misunderstanding. The person they were searching for was, in fact, an off duty Chattanooga police officer, as the call now appears to suggest.
"I don't think I saw him get out of a marked patrol car. It looked like he got out of a regular car,” the caller said. “But he was in a full, he had a full tactical belt and everything. So I mean it looked like he was an actual police officer."
Despite the confusion, that day, Roddy said the caller did the right thing and urged others to call when they see something suspicious.