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Mayor vows to treat gun violence ‘like the crisis it is’ after second mass shooting within 8 days in Chattanooga, Tennessee

By Elizabeth Wolfe, Dakin Andone and Hannah Sarisohn, CNN

The mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, vowed to treat gun violence “like the crisis that it is” after the city saw its second mass shooting in just over a week early Sunday.

Three people were killed and at least 14 others were injured after gunfire erupted at a nightclub just before 2:45 a.m., with some being struck by bullets and others hit by fleeing vehicles, Chattanooga Police Department spokesperson Jeremy Eames said.

Among the three deaths, two stemmed from gunshot wounds and one was related to injuries the victim sustained when they were hit by a vehicle, Eames said.

“I’m tired of standing in front of you talking about guns and bodies,” Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly said in a news conference Sunday.

Investigators believe multiple shooters used several types of firearms during the incident, police said. No arrests have been made and the motive for the shooting is unclear, but authorities believe it was an isolated incident in which one or more people were targeted.

“We hope to have some suspects in custody soon,” Kelly told CNN’s “New Day” Monday, adding federal agencies are assisting the Chattanooga Police Department with the investigation.

While Sunday’s shooting — one of at least 10 mass shootings in the US over the weekend, according to a CNN tally — appeared to be an isolated incident, it was the city’s second in as many weekends, further underscoring the gun violence crisis gripping the US.

“Over the last 10 days we’ve had three killed here and something like 23 injured,” Kelly told CNN. “So, it’s a terrible situation.”

On May 28, six people were shot in downtown Chattanooga’s Cherry Street area in what police said was an altercation between two groups. Most of those shot were teenagers or in their early 20s, Eames said at the time.

Chattanooga police arrested a 15-year-old male in connection with that shooting, the mayor’s office announced in a release Friday. He is charged with six counts of attempted murder, possessions of a weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony, unlawful possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment, the release said.

Investigators identified another suspect and were working to find that person as of Friday, according to the release.

Kelly has vowed to work with the city council in the coming weeks to address gun violence, telling reporters Sunday, “Chattanooga will treat this like the crisis that it is.”

But he also wants Congress to take up the issue, pointing Sunday to mandatory background checks and prohibiting high capacity magazines as necessary measures.

“I’m not trying to take away anybody’s Second Amendment rights,” Kelly told CNN. “But I think we can agree that there are common sense approaches here.”

Sunday’s shooting came as the nation was still reeling from a barrage of shootings in the past month. Those included a massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas; a violent assault on a medical facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma; a racist shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York; and an attack on a Taiwanese church service in Orange County, California.

There have been 246 mass shootings in the country to date in 2022, according to Gun Violence Archive, more than there have been days in the year. Both CNN and the Gun Violence Archive define a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.

A “comprehensive approach” is needed, the mayor said Monday. “It is a law enforcement problem, it’s also a problem with access to guns,” he told CNN. “This is not a place for partisanship. This is something where we need to come together and look at all the ways we can help solve the problem.”

“It’s been said that there are really three parties in the United States: Republicans, Democrats and mayors,” he said. “So, we will do as mayors what we have to do to keep our people safe. But we could sure use some help at the federal level.”

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CNN’s Tina Burnside, Michelle Watson, Sara Smart and Claudia Dominguez contributed to this report.

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