Six people were shot, two of whom suffered life-threatening injuries, in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Saturday night, police said.
Officers patrolling the area heard gunshots just after 11:45 p.m. in the Cherry Street and area arrived at a scene of “multiple parties exchanging gunfire and numerous people fleeing the area,” said police.
Multiple gunshot victims were taken to a hospital for treatment, said police Sgt. Jeremy Eames. Four are expected to survive while two have life-threatening injuries, he said. Most of those shot were teenagers or in their early 20s, he added.
“We had large groups of juveniles walking around the downtown area this date and we believe it’s from within that group that the shooting took place,” he said. Police said they’ve detained at least one person in relation to the gunfire.
There have been 221 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. A mass shooting is defined as an incident with at least four people shot, excluding any shooter. The shooting also comes days after an 18-year-old used a legally purchased AR-15 rifle to kill 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, again raising questions about whether such weapons should be legally available.
The location of Saturday night’s shooting is less than a mile from the Tennessee Aquarium and the city’s waterfront.
Patrick Hickey, who was driving for Uber and Lyft on Saturday night, told CNN he was parked in his usual spot waiting for another ride when he heard at least two dozen gunshots. Hickey works as a volunteer firefighter so he jumped into action.
“I helped with two victims, one of them being with a head injury.” said Hickey. “I couldn’t run in the other direction or drive away knowing there were a lot of people hurt.”
One of the victims ended up on a sidewalk near his car, so he grabbed a shirt from his vehicle and applied pressure to the wound, he said.
“(People were) screaming for help, relatives of victims were there, too,” he said. “Police were trying to get everyone back so we could help victims. It was chaos for a minute.”
Hickey added that on Sunday morning he noticed his shoes had blood on them from one of the victims.
“I’m blessed to be able to go home to my family unharmed, but it was a very scary situation.” said Hickey in a Facebook post. “Please hug your family extra close because this is becoming a common thing in the USA.”