5 people shot in downtown Chattanooga parking lot

Tennessee News
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Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy says five people were shot in the parking lot outside Coyote Jack’s Saloon around 3 Sunday morning. No arrests have been made so far.

He says they were taken to the hospital with what is believed to be non-life threatening injuries.

“We are not only locating some of the potential witnesses around here on the scene, but also speaking with those victims at the hospital,” Roddy said. 

Chief Roddy says shell casings were found at the scene.

“Our crime scene unit, homicide investigators and patrol officers are working to canvas that scene and process that evidence.” 

He said they are working to find out if the victims were targeted, or just happened to be there when shots rang out.

They are asking any witnesses to come forward with information.

“If they saw anything of concern, if they have any video on their cell phone they might have taken, please contact the Chattanooga Police Department so we can take a look at that,” Roddy said. “It might contain some very important evidence that would help us figure out what occurred here.”

Chief Roddy said, “it seemed to be one large incident, but again the timeline on those is what that cell phone, but also some of the area cameras will help us determine.”

Viewers have been sending us cell phone video showing an argument happening between men seconds before multiple shots were fired.

In one video posted to Facebook you can hear a woman say “everybody just stay down,” as shots were being fired.

“If we leave we will be in the crossfire,” witnesses in the video said as they debated whether it was safe to move.

Daniel Weaver, the marketing director for Coyote Jack’s Saloon spoke with us about their security measures.

“The simple solution is we have police presence either in front of our building sitting out in the street, because believe it or not 80 percent of the things that happen in that area wouldn’t if they saw a police cruiser,” Weaver said.

He says for the last several weeks police have been patrolling the area around the club to help with crowd control near closing time, but they were not there when the shooting happened.

“They did not get there until after all this happened,” Weaver said. When we asked why they weren’t there Weaver said “No clue, they were there Friday night and they’ve been there for the last three weeks but they weren’t there tonight.”

We reached out to police to ask them about Weaver’s statements.

The shooting happened in a parking lot in front of the club, but it is not owned by the club.

“If we had some cooperation with Republic Parking I think a lot of the things that happen over there wouldn’t,” Weaver said. “The police presence we have on a usual basis to help do crowd control, that helps.”

Weaver said once people leave their sidewalk, they are not responsible for what happens across the street.

“If we do get involved we are liable for that.”

There was a deadly shooting outside Coyote Jack’s in December. We were told the company would be hiring off-duty officers for extra security. We asked Weaver about that.

“We have. We’ve actually increased our security,” Weaver said, adding they have armed security outside. 

He says they’ve added in-house security as well.

“We’ve added more people so we spend between $2,000 and $3,000 a week in just security only,” Weaver said. “I mean we are one step away from being a TSA checkpoint.”

Weaver said they had security both outside and inside the business when the shooting happened.

“They’re not designed to shoot back when it’s something that’s across the street,” Weaver said. “If it’s something right here in front of our building that is our liability.”

He went on to say:”the people that were involved, the armed security, they were probably trying to keep themselves safe to try to figure out what was going on.”

“Our liability is not in Republic Parking, our liability is 1400 Cowart Street,” Weaver said. “When it happens after closing time, after our doors are locked over in the parking lot, that puts that company in liability, it puts us in liability. Do we want to help? Absolutely. Do we want to go to their aid and help them? Absolutely, but we can’t.”

Weaver said he reached out to the parking company after the December shooting to see if they could also increase their security measures, but he was told the parking company did not want to be involved in that.

He plans to reach back out to Republic Parking.

We asked if there is anything else Coyote Jack’s can do to keep people safe.

He says they are looking at installing bullet proof windows and adding more security cameras, on top of the 51 cameras they already have.

“We are spending this money to babysit that parking lot because if Republic Parking won’t do it, somebody has to.”

He mentioned shootings that have happened in other areas throughout the city.

“We do everything we can to try to keep everyone safe.” 

We have reached out to Republic Parking to get their side of the story.

We will provide any updates as we get them.

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