published Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Chattanooga neighborhood rattled by hail of gunfire, killing man and injuring four others

Tiffany McMath holds her 2-year-old son Kamari McMath who was one of five people shot on the 1900 block of Walker Street in East Chattanooga late Sunday evening. Kamari's back was grazed by a bullet.
Tiffany McMath holds her 2-year-old son Kamari McMath who was one of five people shot on the 1900 block of Walker Street in East Chattanooga late Sunday evening. Kamari's back was grazed by a bullet.
Photo by Dan Henry.
Follow us on Twitter for the latest breaking news
  • Five shot on Walker Street in Chattanooga
    After five people were shot on Walker Street on Sunday night, Chattanooga Assistant Police Chief Tim Carroll addressed members of the media during a news conference on Monday.
1912 Walker Street
Get directions:  To here - From here

The skies were clear Monday morning on Walker Street as residents returned to their front porches after a hail of gunfire the night before sent them running for cover, leaving four wounded and one dead.

A small bunch of red, white and blue plastic flowers was stuck in the dirt near the curb marking the spot where 22-year-old VanDaryl “V” Rivers was shot in the head and fell to the ground.

He was pronounced dead at Erlanger hospital.

“He didn’t even stay on this block. He came to tell us he just found out he was going to be a father,” said Tamesa “PeeWee” Davenport, 27, of Chattanooga. “For that to happen to him, it was just sad.”

Among those injured by bullets were 19-year-old JerMichael Smith, who was shot in the neck and listed in critical condition, 25-year-old Daniel Smiley, who was shot in the wrist, and a 17-year-old and 2-year-old who were both grazed by bullets.

The small brick homes spaced closely together made an easy target for the unidentified shooter, who was clad in all black and carrying an assault rifle, police said. Residents said they heard as many as 30 shots fired, striking people at a number of residences near the 1900 block of Walker Street at about 10 p.m. Sunday.

“[Rivers] was a good person, kind. He loved kids. He loved life. I heard the gunshots. It was quite a lot. It was, ‘Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow,’” Davenport said, repeating the shot of gunfire over and over. “His last words were, ‘It’s going to be OK,’ and he was smiling. To me, it was like he was seeing angels.”

Police brought in several people for questioning but had made no arrests as of Monday afternoon. Investigators couldn’t give a motive for the shooting, the 47th shooting incident for the city this year.

The city already has outpaced its number of homicides in 2010. Last year there were 20 homicides. Rivers’ death marks the 23rd this year.

Remnants of crime scene tape remained near street signs and trash cans Monday morning. Rivers’ blood still stained the curb.

“After [the gunman] shot, he ran south onto the next street, Jackson Street, and got into a small white vehicle and fled,” Chattanooga Police Department Assistant Chief Tim Carroll said. “There may have other people in the car. We don’t know.”

Police received information that the shooting may have been in retaliation for an Oct. 15 shooting that injured two teens on Fagan Street. A 17-year-old was shot in the head in that incident and listed in critical condition. While investigators have leads, no arrests have been made in the Fagan Street shooting, Carroll said.

“We’ve heard rumors, and we’re getting street talk that may be the case, but we haven’t confirmed it,” Carroll said.

The victims in Sunday night’s shooting had no violent criminal history, according to Hamilton County court records.

Poll
Has your family been affected by violent crime?

“They were minding their own business. None of them had weapons on them. There were no drugs on their clothing when they got to the hospital,” Carroll said. “We don’t know why we have five people shot.”

Rivers was shot two doors down from where a 2-year-old toddler was struck by another stray round as his cousins ran for cover.

His aunt, nearly nine months pregnant, quickly realizing he wasn’t among the other children, opened the door and snatched him inside.

His mother, Tiffany McMath, of Atlanta, said that in the chaos after the gunfire it took a few seconds to realize her son was grazed by a bullet.

“When we went back in there, he was the only person in there crying,” she said. “When I began checking him, I seen blood. I couldn’t handle it. I asked my mom to see if he had been shot.”

McMath held the 2-year-old in her arms on the porch Monday morning. He leaned into her, resting his head on her shoulder as she lifted the back of his shirt, exposing gauze where blood had seeped from the wound.

“I thank God he’s still alive. I’m still shook up from it. Every time I see [the wound], it brings tears to my eyes,” she said.

The wound was too deep and wide for doctors to close with stitches, she said.

“When me and my sister ran back outside to find my baby, I don’t know why I looked up, but when I looked up, all you could see was smoke from where they were shooting. I could still hear them,” McMath said.

Contact staff writer Beth Burger at bburger@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6406.

35
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.
dao1980 said...

Oh no! Has little Kamari already learned how to brandish a weapon?!

October 25, 2011 at 8:04 a.m.
Momus said...

Oh no! That kid is a Republican!

October 25, 2011 at 8:16 a.m.
holdout said...

When I looked at the photo I thought he was showing how old he is.

October 25, 2011 at 8:21 a.m.
chatttn said...

Anyone else notice the lady looks a lot like Whoopi Goldberg?

October 25, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.
spktur said...

And I bet 'nobody saw nuttin', until these people wake up and start working with the police to clean up their neighborhoods this stuff will continue to go on.

October 25, 2011 at 8:33 a.m.
joneses said...

This is what happens when people become so reliant on the government to solve their problems. The dummycrats have so many people convinced they cannot think and do for themselves so they do nothing but become pathetic pawns for the dummycratic party to use as victims.

October 25, 2011 at 8:45 a.m.
ChattanoogaVol said...

"The city already has outpaced its number of homicides in 2010. Last year there were 20 homicides. Rivers’ death marks the 23rd this year"

Still waiting on the Mayor to come out and tell the citizens of Chattanooga what he is proposing to put a stop to the killings. Nothing from he Mayor. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

October 25, 2011 at 8:52 a.m.
khargis said...

The obvious solution is more (and more expensive) public art.

October 25, 2011 at 9:01 a.m.
holdout said...

Maybe the Mayor could lay off some Police and use the money to get a red giraffe for the neighborhood. Or annex Cleveland.

October 25, 2011 at 9:24 a.m.
patriot1 said...

When you " ax dem peeps what they saw and dey say nuttin" you're gonna get nuttin or very little from law enforcement and city government.

October 25, 2011 at 9:39 a.m.
01centare said...

Still waiting on the Mayor to come out and tell the citizens of Chattanooga what he is proposing to put a stop to the killings. Nothing from he Mayor. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

What do YOU suggest?

October 25, 2011 at 9:45 a.m.
01centare said...

spktur said... And I bet 'nobody saw nuttin', until these people wake up and start working with the police

the po-LICE usually already know. They're just stringing you and the publi along for more drama and effects___like a badly written script for a b-rated movie. Then there's the other effort to shine an even more negative light on the mayor and city council.

October 25, 2011 at 9:48 a.m.
Shock said...

Most of these comments are sad and pathetic. A child is shot in the streets and the responses range from ridicule to racist comments to political pandering with even some "they" deserve it thrown in for good measure.

At a federal government level, we ought to see proposals that humanely transition people from public assistance as a way of life to public assistance as a temporary helping hand. Single parents might need some help, but when we've got the system set up in a manner which rewards and encourages single parent households without good strong male models, we have a serious problem that feeds into youth violence.

On a local level, the mayor and police chief have to admit the violence problem and start proposing solutions. Creating curfews in tourist areas does nothing to fix the root causes.

October 25, 2011 at 10:16 a.m.
maddawg said...

The only solution is to flood all the streets in the hood with cops. Of course there are not enough cops to do this so all the police can do is react. The punks doing this are going to keep doing it no matter what the mayor says or does.

October 25, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.
Momus said...

Most of these comments are sad and pathetic. A child is shot in the streets and the responses range from ridicule to racist comments to political pandering with even some "they" deserve it thrown in for good measure.

What do you expect, we're the evangelical christian right! This is what we do best.

October 25, 2011 at 11:27 a.m.
sage1 said...

Khargis might be onto something....More art. Maybe even LOTS more art for the Hood. Maybe some exquisite eye catching graffiti with ONLY the following colors.

Blue, Green, Turquoise, Gray, Silver, White

You see. Studies have shown that each of these colors has a C-A-L-M-I-N-G affect on people. Why, after a few weeks of staring at Turquoise buffalo statues, a few white polor bear statues, a few beautiful green frog statues, scenes on the Hood housing of puffy white clouds, a few blue lakes and river scenes, and a silver moon over said lake scenes....why I'd say the whole neighbor-HOOD would be outside singing Kumbaya by a campfire.

October 25, 2011 at 11:41 a.m.
Winner said...

So now we know where the racists come to comment...

October 25, 2011 at 3:32 p.m.
dao1980 said...

Shoooot Winner, you sooo dang racist Richard Pryor thinks you're the funny one.

And what about all these dang white people, they always doin white people stuff an thinkin white people thoughts. Those dang white people... they soooo white, they smell bad!

Ok, sarcasm expended for the moment.

I am pleased to believe that we are getting closer every day to a world where no one who's opinion matters, really cares what color your skin is.

If you find someone who does care what kind of tan you were born with, ignore them, they are a quickly dying social sect.

When someone makes jokes about white people smoking meth, or about black people busting caps, they're not saying that these fringe miscreants are doing these things because of their ethnicity. The joke is about stupid people making ironically stupid decisions.

To those of us who (as George Carlin said) "get it", it can be funny to observe the inevitable ups and downs of life in a comical light.

Sure it's terrible that foolish fools hurt and maim each other for reasons we can only philosophize about from our comfortable desk tops.

But to observe a few differing and sometimes comically obscene opinions and react by screaming "RACIST!", is just a cop out on actually "getting it".

Sorry there Winner, didn't mean to bark up your tree so hard, I just disagree that most of these comments voicing disgust of the shooting are actually racist.

October 25, 2011 at 4:01 p.m.
Shock said...

dao1980 - I can see your point of view and where you're coming from. Some of the comments (like yours) were intended to be funny and some were intended to be mean spirited (and racist). However, I don't think it is using very good judgment to make fun of a child who was shot. If you and your family were involved in a tragedy that ended with the death of a friend and wounding of a family member, I don't think you would want to come to this site and see a bunch of jokes and mean spirited comments at your family's expense.

I'm on board with your sentiments that it is okay to find some humor in situations where stupid people do stupid things. Making fun of a child who has been shot is over the line, however.

October 25, 2011 at 4:32 p.m.
01centare said...

Shock said... Most of these comments are sad and pathetic. A child is shot in the streets and the responses range from ridicule to racist comments to political pandering with even some "they" deserve it thrown in for good measure.

I'm not a bit shocked. I've seen these type base comments before on other local forums, and some were from members of your local police department hiding behind screen names. Does the black community really need, want or deserve anyone with these type negative opinions of them coming to their communities on a pretense of helping them to solve issues? That's one of the more disturbing parts in most all these issues affecting the city. That is, the ones who are suppose to be protecting citizens are really no better than the ones allegedly causing the problems. They need to keep all of their sorry arses up there in pristine Harrison, Soddy Daisy, Ooltlewah and way way out in their lovely {sarcasm} county where there's never any crime {sarcasm again}, where they can better hide their crimes, and leave the city dwellers alone. They claim to be too good to live in the city, but they don't mind being on the city's payroll.

October 25, 2011 at 4:41 p.m.
khargis said...
October 25, 2011 at 5:48 p.m.
LibDem said...

Good idea, 01centare. Keep the police out of these communities. They're doing great. Their heroes have guns and the police are the enemy.

October 25, 2011 at 6:09 p.m.
brokentoe said...

I neither agree or disagree with 01, but how long now has it been that police have been involved in these communities and their presence has made a positive impact? It does appear to many their presence and actions have just the opposite, causing the situations in these communities to deteriorate more.

If Americans could just have good memories, they would recall that a lot of these problems began when there became a move across the nation to gentrify America's inner-cities. Those inner-city dwellers weren't dug in their heels and weren't scattering fast enough, so someone(s) decided to speed things up to force them out.

October 25, 2011 at 6:49 p.m.
knightboy said...

a fence

October 25, 2011 at 7:58 p.m.
rolando said...

These shootings have gone way past the routine and approach the humdrum.

Gang shootings? We don't have gangs in Chattanooga -- Mayor Littlefield.

October 25, 2011 at 8:29 p.m.
NObama12 said...

Oh you bleeding hearts that police the comments...what a joke.

October 25, 2011 at 8:47 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

rolando said... Gang shootings? We don't have gangs in Chattanooga -- Mayor Littlefield.

Where in the story does it specifically state the shooting was gang related? Or is it whenever a crime takes place in the black community the immediate ASSumptio is it must be gang relate?

Maybe if Chattanooga would start to round up all these confidential informants and question them about what they're bosses the city might just get an awakening surprise.

October 25, 2011 at 9:44 p.m.
spendy said...

What I find sad is the fact that children in these "problem areas" are taught at a young age to hate the very ones who are there to help them. I guess with Christmas coming up the same families who teach their kids that cops are the bad guys will need those "bad guys" to take their kids to Shop with a Cop. Funny how that works, huh?

October 26, 2011 at 9:59 a.m.
chioK_V said...

Yeah, spendy. Just like the child abuser taking the child down to the candy store after abusing the child to prove he's not such a bad guy after all? Either way, the act is more for the image of the cop than carrying out a good deed.

October 26, 2011 at 7:50 p.m.
spendy said...

chiok, I'm sorry I forgot..they don't need the cops help because they don't want one of the good guys anywhere around to see all that illegal activity or child neglect.

October 27, 2011 at 10:52 a.m.
mizzneenee said...

im the mother of kamari the 2 year old that was grazed by a bullet, we also barried my step dad that friday and i think alot of comments on here should be kept to urself nothing is funny about what happened that night and i hope god have mercy on ur souls and i will be keeping u in my prayers for everyone who made jokes or had something negative to say my baby was an innocent bystander and he didnt deserve what they did he has been tramutized every since that night waking up out his sleep screaming or tossing and turning i will never forget that night and u really dont know how that affects you until you've had someone die or get shot in front of u so please think before u right a comment on something serious as this article.

November 7, 2011 at 6:28 p.m.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement
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.