published Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Shooting victim tried to break up fight, witnesses say

  • photo
    Margaret Harris, charged with shooting a 17-year-old who died Friday, Feb. 19, 2011.

The tears wouldn't stop flowing for Latoya Harris all day Saturday.

"I just can't stop crying," said Harris, 20, of Chattanooga.

Her boyfriend, James Dominick Sherrell, was shot Friday and died.

Her mother, Margaret Harris, is charged in his slaying.

"It seems like a nightmare. I just can't get it through my head that he's gone," Latoya Harris said Saturday between choked breaths. "I got to go home with nobody to lay with. I don't have nobody to go home to. I don't have anyone to talk to. It hurts. And now my momma's gone. It's two in one."

Chattanooga Police Department investigators arrested 37-year-old Margaret Harris on a charge of criminal homicide early Saturday. She remains in the Hamilton County Jail without bond.

Dominick Sherrell's mother grieved at her own mother's home Saturday. Towanda Sherrell, 37, remembered getting shot in the neck 20 years ago and ran her fingers along the scar.

She survived. Her son did not.

"It depends on the size of the bullet and where it hits," she said, eyes tired. "It's up to the man upstairs. If it's your time to go, it's your time to go. I just hate he went like this."

Dominick Sherrell apparently was a victim of a feud that began in January between two families.

Sherrell's 16-year-old cousin, Eric, was jailed after his girlfriend, Margaret Harris' 18-year-old daughter, Brittany, accused him of domestic violence for firing a bullet into her car. The two have a 1-year-old son.

Since then members of his family have threatened Brittany and her family, the Harrises said. They retaliated by smashing out the windows of her car.

On Friday, Brittany went to pick up her sister, Shalinda, 17, near a bus stop at the corner of Sheridan Avenue and Wilson Street and saw a group of girls fighting with her sister.

Shalinda said she was getting ready to exit the bus.

"I saw a crowd and a whole bunch of people. I got off the bus and took the last step, and she [Sherrell's cousin] just hit me. That's how the fight started."

Brittany, her left eye puffy and swollen, said she jumped in to help her sister.

Eventually the fight broke up. Around 5 p.m., Latoya was driving Brittany and Shalinda to the store. Her mother, Margaret, followed in another car.

Brittany saw Dominick Sherrell's car in the 1300 block of North Orchard Knob Avenue and stopped.

He was standing with his cousin, one of the girls who had fought with the Harris sisters earlier that day. In moments, the fight was going again, with Sherrell trying to break it up.

"He was telling them, 'Don't ya'll fight,'" Towanda Sherrell said, sitting at her own mother's home Saturday. She said she heard about the fight from others.

But more and more people were converging and the scene unfolded in chaos, the Harrises said.

Sherrell was hit in the head with a golf club that gashed his head.

Then, witnesses told police, Sherrell began to walk toward the car Margaret Harris was in. Witnesses said she got out of the passenger side, brandished a handgun and fired a single round over the top of the car, striking Sherrell in the abdomen, according to an arrest report.

With the crowd growing, Brittany said, "It's time to go. I heard a gunshot and saw him fall."

Margaret Harris and her family drove away. Police found the gun at the home of her mother, Linda Harris, the arrest report stated.

A black Ford Focus with blankets tucked in all of the side windows sat out in the grass Saturday outside Linda Harris' house. A bullet hole is visible on the left rear side of the car. The windshield is smashed in.

Margaret Harris told police she fired a gun but did not admit to shooting Sherrell.

Towanda Sherrell spent Saturday morning at Erlanger hospital and watched her son slip away, hooked up to machines in a hospital bed. Now she isn't sure how she will afford to bury him. She had a stack of fliers on her lap asking for donations.

She said she and Latoya Harris have cried on the phone with each other.

"She didn't have anything to do with it, but I tell her I can't talk to her. Her momma killed my baby. ... Why wouldn't you [Margaret Harris] call the police? Why would you be riding around with a gun?" she said.

Sherrell attended the Howard School of Academics and Technology. He planned on making it as rapper.

Linda Harris said the family is devastated about Sherrell's death.

"He was loved, and I hate this happened," she said. "I know they are grieving, and I'm grieving right along with them. I know there's anger and bitterness."

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Echo said...

Is it just me or does this story just make anyone else's head spin? I see about one of these stories each week and I'm lost without a graphic, a timeline, a map, and a family tree. Hep me!

You got some cousins and sisters and this one driving over with that one and mom in the car with a gun and I guess somebody belongs to a country club because they have a golf club handy. There's a rapper in there somewhere and a thirty-something granny yields a short treatise on ballistics and fate.

"I got to go home with nobody to lay with" offers the 20 year old WIC recipient hopeful. (Ms. Burger - how's my opener?)

Oh, poor dear. The horror. I guess you'll just have to find another unemployed, 17 year old, baby's daddy who's gonna make it as a rapper.

"Don't ya'll fight"

Mom, more like "Don't ya'll fornicate"?

February 20, 2011 at 1:48 a.m.
harrystatel said...

Wonder how many taxpayer dollars go to support these thug families? Even if it's one dollar that's one dollar too many.

February 20, 2011 at 10:33 a.m.
ceeweed said...

Those making comments need not be hateful. Yes, this story has a lot of what a previous poster has pointed out. Yet, still their are people grieving the loss of this young man.

February 20, 2011 at 10:56 a.m.
clinthardwood said...

The writing of this article is as chaotic as the people it describes. Almost Faulkneresque in both style and its characters, except unfortunately, the characters are real and live nearby.

February 20, 2011 at 10:57 a.m.
clinthardwood said...

"Yet, still their are people grieving the loss of this young man."

Grieving over what? That she "got to go home with nobody to lay with"? That's a good thing. Can we keep it that way so she won't breed?

February 20, 2011 at 11 a.m.
2fatjack said...

typical bunch of you know whats

February 20, 2011 at 11:25 a.m.
maddawg said...


February 20, 2011 at 11:28 a.m.
LibDem said...

This is bizarre. Witness accounts are usually self serving and should be viewed with some skepticism; however, I don't see any innocent parties here. No one seems to be able to walk away from trouble. You're getting off a bus. You see a fracas brewing. You can stay on the bus or you can rumble. How many children go without food to pay for the family gun? If you're carrying a gun, you probably expect to use it. Can't anyone just walk away?

February 20, 2011 at 12:18 p.m.
discovery said...

Where is the NAACP?

February 20, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.
grummy4333 said...

We should remember that families lost loved ones.

February 20, 2011 at 12:32 p.m.
harrystatel said...

"We should remember that families lost loved ones."

They should remember not to act like fools.

February 20, 2011 at 2:13 p.m.
dave said...

I think this is the reason Jesus Wept. This is a story of SIN and it's consequences. You cannot expect the children to do right if the parents don't teach them. As it says in the scriptures "God isn't mocked, what so ever an man (or woman) sews that will they also reap." The wages of sin are still DEATH. I am sorry for the loss in both families but this could have been so easily avoided.

February 20, 2011 at 2:19 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

It never ceases to amaze me how 'honest christian folk' behave when their comments are anonymous. If you follow the TFP on facebook you never see these type of rants. Coincidence? 

February 20, 2011 at 2:35 p.m.
sd said...

This isn't the street, holmes, it's the Internet. Go back to school.

February 20, 2011 at 6:02 p.m.
ease2brezz said...

@sd who you talkin bout

February 20, 2011 at 6:19 p.m.
jwalton said...

Folks, you can express yourselves without obscenity, profanity or inflammatory language. If you can't, your post comes down. The weekend editor

February 20, 2011 at 6:24 p.m.
sd said...

Shut up, indian.

This is the worst comments thread ever.

February 20, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
zwickau said...

indian, this is not some third world country nor is it Hitler's Germany. As a civilized nation, supposedly, hopefully America doesn't hand out the death penalty simply to make a statement or, as you put it, to set an example.

The disturbing and sad part of your comment is you most likely consider yourself a good Christian.

February 20, 2011 at 7:49 p.m.
seaeagle8709 said...

I am so sick of seeing and hearing these stories.
That comment by the young girl, "Now I have noone to go home to lay with" kind of tells it all. That kind of comment is symptomatic of the problem at hand. Single unfit parents breeding and raising thugs and sluts. Blight on a decent society. What more can I say? No solution in sight except for letting them weed each other out of society by natural selection.

February 20, 2011 at 8:57 p.m.
Echo said...

How intellectually LAZY is it to classify every dissenting opinion as "hate"?

First off, what's wrong with hate? Where is the problem with hating that which is objectionable?

Second, if you have a problem with hate, do you hate hate? That would make you....a Hater! It's a conundrum is it not? How can you live with yourself? You can't? Step into traffic.

I HATE paying for foolishness perpetrated by people using guns to resolve every tiny offense that I eventually have to pay for. Let's be's not the gun's fault.

I HATE Americans who breed like insects without any financial means. My children do without things I could buy WITH MONEY I EARNED BY WORKING IN A GRIND JOB THAT I HATE so I can pay for some ignorant teen's entitlement check. New rule - No DNA sample, no check. Baby's daddy goes to labor camp or has organs harvested if he does not accept financial responsibility. WIC alone costs $7,400,000,000 dollars per year and it goes up by 8 percent each year.

I HATE people who don't have a problem with a government telling them that they have to buy Obamacare insurance. The same people shouldn't have a problem with every male who impregnates a female being forced to buy "paternity" insurance. (or go to hard labor after organ harvesting and a vasectomy.)

I HATE the idiot family members that are so concerned about everyone's feelings after the killing. Where were you concerned family members BEFORE it started COSTING ME MONEY.

I HATE the dumb t-shirt that has the picture of the decedent on it like anyone else cares. How classy to be immortalized on your 5'2" 300lb torso made fat by sitting around and eating food you never had to buy with your own money.

I HATE those stupid "In Loving Memory of...." decals for the back of a car windshield. How classy to be immortalized on a the crappy car you drive.

I HATE every aimless, dope dealin, thug as being described as a future rapper. Yeah, there's a proven career path, why didn't I think of that? I'm gonna quit my job and tell my spouse that I'm working toward my new career as an future international-playboy-supermodel-rockstar-secret agent-astronaut.

February 20, 2011 at 11:12 p.m.
Sapphiah said...

There are a lot of heartless, hate-filled people commenting here. Some of you appear to be evil-spirited and not human. @clinthardwood, you're an a$$. Normal people would grieve over an 17 year old losing his life when it looks like he was trying to stop the fighting. Is he nothing because he just happened to be standing on the street with one of his fightinIg cousins? Is he nothing because he was poor?

In this story there appears to be one major idiot (Margaret Harris). Dominick is probably stunned from being hit in the head. He tries to walk away from the crowd. Maybe her car is in his path. He doesn't have a weapon, but she exits her car, aims and fires like she is at a western shootout. The adults on both sides should have squashed this nonsense between their kids. That's what they are foolish, immature kids.

Ms. Harris went looking for someone to kill. She trailed her daughters in a separate car, strapped. They could have easily gone on their store "field trip" where they would be unlikely to encounter their opponents. Ms. Harris judgment wasn't any better than her daughters. And she should pay for that.

February 21, 2011 at 3:39 a.m.
shon0219 said...

first off if some of you read the post you would know he was doing nothing but trying to stop the fight. Second would it be better if he was a white little boy. would you be saying bless his mothers heart then.LAst no where in this post did it say he didnt attend school, that he had no job, or that he had any children. To the people like me who knew and loved him it will be hard to know that his kind happy soul is no longer on this earth. For those of us who know him we know he was always loyal, always trying to protect the ones he loved and cared for, was funny, and most of all loving. I will miss you more then anyone could understand. I will wear my shirt with pride, and make sure no one ever forgets all the good you have done. Mwah

February 21, 2011 at 9:24 a.m.
ease2brezz said...

I see my previous comments were removed because they were harsh i guess, but yall should remove these racist comments! People get on here dogging families out and you know nothin about them, jumping to conclusions and tryning to display every black person like they're all the same!! Well i got news for ya not every black person receives WIC and/or government assistance, some of us have high school diplomas, college degrees, and a good job like my self who has all three!!And i knew dominic very well and he wasn't this thugged out guy yall tryning to display him to be, so just leave the rude comments to your self!!!

February 21, 2011 at 11:08 a.m.
Molly42 said...

Wow! Regardless of the girlfriends comments, regardless of what you think the mom should have done, or said. It doesn't change the fact that a young man lost his life. Fry the mother that shot him? Really, well there ya go the first person without sin just cast the first stone. Yes, your entitled to your opinion,but it's not your place to judge.

Someone lost a loved one in this situation, and families are grieving.


February 21, 2011 at 2:35 p.m.

I usually don't respond to ignorance, but something has to be said. Some of these comments are just horrible. This is 2011 and not all black people are recieving government assistance, in fact more white people are than blacks. I am an African American Woman, recent college graduate from the Univerisity of Tennessee at Knoxville,(and no you did not pay for that either. My parents worked hard everyday so that I could recieve my masters). Can you say the same? Judging by your comments no. I would proudly say that I would love to have Ms. Harris' job. Yes I completed college so that I would not have to do factory work, but she makes more money than I am currently making so @ECHO I seriously doubt it if you were paying for anything as far as she was concerned. The fact of the matter is simply, she was wrong. To be honest that is all you had to say. @Echo you are the the problem with the world today, and the reason I did not want to come to Chattanooga. All the bad things that I have heard about the white people here seems to be true. Obama won because he was the better man. Try harder next time. He is your Commander in Chief, a black man (love it!!!) Get over it already, really. He is in office because Americans had faith in him, they were over the republicans, so they went another route. OMG old people !!!! I really hope you are old because it saddens me to think that there are young people in the world who have been taught to hate. Ignorance is and always will be bliss, but I would be able to understand the ignorance a little better if you were born prior to 1960. So please be old. @ECHO a child has died, regardless of his race and his dreams, he was a child. What if this were your child? How would you feel, if you were to read such slanderous comments about your loved one from people who did not even know him/her? You really shouldn't be so hateful. What were you doing at 17, what were you dreams? Rapping was his dream, they make so much more money than you could ever dream of making. Who really has the time to sit around commenting on stories? If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all. Yes you are entitled to your opinion, but opinions are like rear ends, everybody has one. This was someone's child, friend, cousin, brother, nephew, student, classmate, and no one deserves to die like that.

@The families envolved, you are all in my prayers. P.S Sorry if there are errors I really do not have time to proof read, I have to go to work in the morning. LOL!!! Echo you make it hard to walk in love, but I can't let hating you keep me from heaven. I love you and you too are in my prayers. God Bless

February 22, 2011 at 12:55 a.m.
ease2brezz said...

@beautifulbrownskin THANK YOU FOR THAT WELL SAID

February 22, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.
bdove2003 said...

I'm a native of chatt. and blk. To the ignorance of two certain commenters. I love chatt wit all my heart but decided to leave because the politics took everything a child and teenager needed to develope. I mean they tore down communities and the main communities that they tore down mantained a certain balance in chattanooga. I mean when u start tearing down homes and schools, that's got to be a red flag. Where the kids gonna go, what the kids gonna do. I grew up in alton park projects and loved it there. My mom worked and provided and at times she needed government help but she always thrived to do better and raised me better. In order to raise me better she worn my behind out, I can remember getting my behind spanked in school, I can remember going to after school spots like the boys club, I could remember praying in school, I can remember saying the pledge to amercia, I can remember my first choice of high schools, which was kirkman. The point is that politics took a lot of neccessary things away from chattanooga and the world in general has taken away the means to keep some of your children in line. I mean damn kids can sue and basicly tell the parent what to. We spared the rod and now the child is spoiled and to the gun dude. Yes guns do kill. Stick your pointing finger out and cock back your thumb. Bang!!!! Who's dead or shot. Also who has the most guns on the street. I think white people do cause u proved it in your comment.

February 23, 2011 at 3:25 p.m.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.