published Friday, May 20th, 2011

Shooting death shocks neighbors

Family members and friends of 53-year-old shooting victim Herbert Strickland huddle together as they watch police officers transport the body to the ambulance Thursday in Chattanooga. The man was shot in the head at the Big K Convenience store at 909 Dodson Ave.
Staff Photo by Jenna Walker/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Family members and friends of 53-year-old shooting victim Herbert Strickland huddle together as they watch police officers transport the body to the ambulance Thursday in Chattanooga. The man was shot in the head at the Big K Convenience store at 909 Dodson Ave. Staff Photo by Jenna Walker/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Wails from women erupted Thursday morning as authorities held up a white sheet, shielding the sight of 53-year-old Herbert Strickland’s lifeless body, as paramedics loaded it into an ambulance.

With heavy, sagging shoulders, Strickland’s brother leaned against a Chattanooga police patrol car, sobbing uncontrollably as his brother’s corpse was removed from inside the Big K convenience store on Dodson Avenue.

Strickland, known for regularly purchasing coffee and doughnuts at the store, was shot in the head Thursday while inside.

“At this point, we don’t know if there’s any gang affiliation or association with the shooting. We have heard some information it may be retaliation or may be gang-related,” said Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd, standing outside the crime scene tape talking to reporters after a crowd of about 100 people began dispersing hours after the 9:35 a.m. shooting.

As of Thursday afternoon, police said they were still collecting information on one, possibly more, suspects.

Strickland’s death marks the city’s 11th homicide for the year — nearly all of which were the result of shootings.

“Chattanooga gone wild. There’s nothing you can do about it. Something needs to be done,” said a 53-year-old woman at the store who declined to give her name out of fear of retaliation.

Two clerks and at least one other customer were inside the Big K at 909 Dodson Ave. when Strickland was shot. According to police, he used his body to shield a woman before he was killed.

“The victim actually was shielding one person and he told her to get down and out of the way,” Dodd said. “Apparently he didn’t know what was going on himself.”

Another injury occurred when a person scraped an arm on a door while trying to get out of the store, according to authorities.

Onlookers said Strickland was a regular at the store, a neighborhood hangout. He often bought his morning coffee, doughnuts and lottery tickets at the store, then would scratch off the tickets in the parking lot.

“He’s a real good guy. He’s friends with everybody,” the unnamed woman said. “It’s shocking to us. ... You can tell how many friends he’s got. Just look around here.

Kita Bowens, 23, was cleaning out her car down the street when she heard about the shooting when a woman covered in blood ran up saying, “They just shot him.”

“I hope they find out who did it. That’s a sad situation,” Bowens said.

Criminal court records show Strickland had an arrest history, including a dismissed attempted first-degree murder charge.

He was indicted by the Hamilton County grand jury for attempting to kill Marshal Mosely in August 2003, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated assault and received a suspended five-year sentence, records show.

This is the second shooting within a week on Dodson Avenue. On Friday night police responded to a drive-by shooting at 551 Dodson Ave. in which a 16-year-old and 34-year-old were struck in their feet and thighs as they tried to run for cover.

Dodd said Strickland, with his age, doesn’t fit the criteria for a typical shooting victim.

“This man doesn’t fit into the criteria — 18 to 34 — it’s another senseless shooting,” he said before citing statistics that 53 percent of victims of firearm violence in Tennessee are black males. “When they are only represent 16 percent of the population, there’s something wrong with that.”

Dodd said the police department needs the community’s help to catch Strickland’s killer and quell further violence.

“There’s folks in this crowd who know what happened. There’s folks in this crowd who know who did this and why. We need people to step up,” he said.

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maddawg said...

Just like the police chief said, quit covering up who did this shooting and others in town. I'll bet half the people hanging around that store know who did it but will not talk. Hard to feel sorry for people like that.

May 20, 2011 at 8:54 a.m.
chet123 said...

The Black Churches need to retake their neighborhoods.....churches all around that area...

May 20, 2011 at 9:14 a.m.
Veritas said...

"He's friends with everybody", so she says. There's at least one person who dislikes him, Marshal Mosely, the man he attempted to kill in 2003. This scene occurs daily throughout the South in cities with large black populations. Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, Charleston, Memphis, New Orleans, and Richmond all come to mind.

May 20, 2011 at 10:44 a.m.
chet123 said...

beside black they have two thing in common.....high unemployments,,and single house-hold(female head) ...very much an underclass...many have opt out of the system(apathy&hopelessness)...Great opportunity for black Christain Church.....Afriad they hidding....cant witness behind walls and closed doors.....hmmmm this is how muslim get a strong hold in America..wheres the so-called Christains...church on every block...during what???maybe a couple of Black Churches bored enough to take the street....the rest....padding the preacher pockets..government shouldnt have to stock this area like a prison....come on church folks ..retake your neigborhood....get out of those buildings

May 20, 2011 at 11:17 a.m.
Leaf said...

“Chattanooga gone wild. There’s nothing you can do about it. Something needs to be done,”

There's no simple solution, but we know the three problems.
1 - Drugs.
2 - Prisons that are criminal college instead of institutions of reform.
3 - Lack of education in critical thinking and life skills.

With enough political will, we could do something about the last two. It would cost money, but it would be money wisely spent, that would save money and lives in the long run.

America has some of the worst prisons and educational system of any developed country. We incarcerate both a greater percentage of our population and a greater number than other country in the world. It doesn't seem to be helping with our crime rate. People go in for writing bad checks and come out a gang member with AIDS selling crack and killing their rivals.

May 20, 2011 at 11:41 a.m.
chet123 said...

i agree leaf....but i would like the churches get involve....thats their job.....families and churches

May 20, 2011 at 12:45 p.m.
brokentoe said...

EmphasisVeritas said... This scene occurs daily throughout the South in cities with large black populations. Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, Charleston, Memphis, New Orleans, and Richmond all come to mind.emphasis

That's what usually happens when attempts to gentrify goes awry. They were suppose to be long gone by now. They instead dug in their heels and stayed.

May 20, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.
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