CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Chattanooga police arrested a 15-year-old male who is suspected in a shooting Saturday night that ended with six young teens wounded.
The Chattanooga Police Department said the teen is being held at a juvenile detention facility and is charged with six counts of attempted murder, reckless endangerment, and two weapon possession charges.
Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy said officers patrolling on 100 Cherry Street and 100 Walnut Street heard gunshots around 10:58 p.m. Saturday night.
The Chattanooga Police Department said there appeared to be a fight between two groups of people when two people in one of the groups pulled out guns and began firing at the other group.
Three 15-year-old males, two 15-year-old females, and a 13-year-old male were wounded in the shooting. Police said the shooters targeted one or more of the teens in the other group, but police said many of the victims were unintended targets.
"Six teenagers were shot last night in what we believe was an altercation between other teenagers," Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly said. "I am heartbroken for the families and victims whose lives were upended last night by gunfire."
CPD said two of the teens had life-threatening wounds. Murphy said that officers provided aid to the teenagers wounded and got others in the area to safety.
Murphy said another person of interest was detained but was ruled out as a suspect.
Murphy said the investigation is in its early stages, and at this time, nothing indicates that gang violence is involved. However, gang violence has not been ruled out.
Chattanooga Police said that police presence would be increased in the downtown area for the rest of the weekend, and Chief Murphy said that the upcoming music festival, Riverbend Festival, will also see increased police security.
Mayor Kelly said his office will work with the city council in the coming weeks to create safe spaces for Chattanooga minors to publicly gather and will also invest in youth mentorship and violence prevention programs with funds from the American Rescue Plan.
Kelly also said his office will work with the District Attorney's office to enforce existing laws that hold parents accountable for allowing children access to guns that result in violence.
"It is ridiculous that I have to publicly state that guns have no place in the hands of our kids," said Kelly.
Chattanooga Police is asking anyone with information about the shooting can call (423) 643-5100 or submit a tip through the Atlas 1 app. Anyone calling or submitting a tip can remain anonymous.