By REBECCA HAZEN
Dade County citizen Patrick Hickey was on the scene of the shootings in downtown Chattanooga on Saturday night, May 28, and offered support to the victims until emergency responders arrived.
According to multiple Chattanooga area news outlets, the shootings occurred between a group of teenagers just before 11 p.m., near the 100 block of Cherry Street, which is just a few blocks away from the Tennessee Aquarium and waterfront area.
Hickey was driving for Uber and Lyft, and his vehicle was parked by the Buffalo Wild Wings at the time of the shootings.
“About 60 seconds before the shootings there were a group of teenagers that walked by my car. I was only about 30-40 yards away, I was extremely close,” Hickey said.
Hickey did not see the shooting, because it was around the corner from his car, but he said he heard about two dozen shots. He thought there would have been more victims based on the number of shots.
“I looked in the review mirror and saw a big group of kids and teens running for their lives. I would have felt bad if I had gone in the opposite direction and not gotten out and did something about it, to make sure that whoever got hit was taken care of,” Hickey said.
There were a lot of officers patrolling the surrounding areas that night, and both Hickey and officers, in addition to people living in the surrounding homes, were able to respond to the victims right away, while the paramedics were on their way.
“One of the victims had a wound in the stomach. I went back to the car and got a shirt out and went over to him. There was an officer there and he took the shirt and started putting pressure on the wound,” Hickey said.
Hickey went around the corner and saw two other victims. One was hit in the shoulder, and another victim had a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
“She had extreme labored breathing and a significant amount of blood loss, going in and out of consciousness, and at times we had to do CPR on her. We felt like she was starting to pass away,” Hickey said.
Hickey continued, “I have nieces and nephews around that age, I have friends that have kids around that age. While helping them out, I was just trying to process, is this really happening? I was where a lot of kids and families hang out during the day and even at night. On a Saturday night, on a holiday weekend, there’s plenty of nightlife.”
Hickey said that he always keeps an eye on his surroundings, even more so now, because of the recent string of shootings that has happened in the United States in the past few weeks. Hickey noted that it’s becoming common place, and everyone should be careful wherever they go.
“It all starts inside the home, with moms and dads teaching lessons to these kids. The attitudes of kids are a lot different than when we were younger. If you have weapons in the house and you have kids, you need to keep it locked and secured, and hidden. It’s all about respect and discipline towards weapons and other people,” Hickey said.
According to the Chattanooga Police, six teenagers were wounded by gunfire, with two in critical condition. The identities of the victims have not been released because they are all minors. The victims are a 13-year-old boy, three 15-year-old boys and two 15-year-old girls.
Police believe that there was an intended target in one of the groups, but many of the victims were bystanders. The incident does not seem to be gang-related.
On Friday, June 3, it was announced that the Chattanooga Police had arrested a 15-year-old male. The teen is at the Juvenile Detention Facility and has been charged with six counts of attempted murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony, unlawful possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment.
Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly said during a press conference, “I’m standing here in front of you talking about our community’s youth getting shot. That’s outrageous and it has to stop. It’s ridiculous that I even need to publicly state that guns have no place in the hands of our kids and that children shouldn’t be wandering around in the middle of the night without supervision.”