Police: Centennial Park shooting could be tied to earlier incident

Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 11:42am

A late-night shooting near the Parthenon in Centennial Park Wednesday may have been instigated by a large group of juveniles throwing gang signs at each other, and authorities are tying to determine if the incident is related to Monday's disturbance at Wave Country.

Metro police said the shooting happened about 30 minutes after the “Movies in the Park” event concluded nearby. At least 30 Metro police and Metro Parks police were on-hand working security at the event when they heard shots near the Parthenon around 10:40 p.m. after the group of juveniles had been told to disperse when police saw them flashing gang signs.

Police initially found no victim but later located a 15-year-old Goodlettsville boy who suffered a single gunshot wound to his knee. The teen is currently on probation out of Juvenile Court and was to be under an 8 p.m. curfew, police said.

The teenage victim suffered non-life threatening injuries and was expected to recover. He described the suspected shooter as a black male with dreadlocks and who wore a blue hat.

Detectives from Metro’s West Precinct, as well as detectives from Metro’s Youth Services Division, are investigating the incident. Metro police’s gang unit was also looking into the incident.

The Metro police gang unit was also investigating whether or not the incident that led police to shut down Wave Country Monday was somehow related to the altercation Wednesday night in Centennial Park. At this point, however, there was no known gang connection between the two incidents.

Metro Parks Director Tommy Lynch released a statement late Thursday addressing the two incidents at both of the Metro-run facilities.

“We take any disruption to the safety and enjoyment of our parks very seriously.” Lynch said in the statement. “We want to assure our citizens that we have taken and will continue to take every possible step to ensure the safety and well-being of our patrons. … While these incidents are caused by the unfortunate actions of a few, I want to personally assure you that we will take every step to ensure that the actions of a few will not ruin the great programs we have for the many.”

According to information provided by Metro Parks, there were a number of police and parks officers on hand, including six mounted patrol and two on ATVs. There were 23 officers on foot, as well as six in plain clothes, a mobile booking unit and a police watchtower at the park. Earlier media reports that the shooting happened at “Movies in the Park” were inaccurate.

“Movies in the Park” is a free showing put on by the Nashville Scene, which is owned by SouthComm Inc., also the parent company of The City Paper.

According to SouthComm CEO Chris Ferrell, who attended the event, a large crowd had gathered near the Parthenon, which is located in a different part of the park from the screening. By the time the shooting occurred, the crowd for the movie had dispersed, and vendors had packed up and left, he said.

Police asked anyone with information regarding the shooting to call Metro Police or Crime Stoppers at 74-CRIME.

7 Comments on this post:

By: fallwheretheymay on 6/2/11 at 1:13

This is a dangerous situation. There are way too many troublemakers at the park during this event. Why else would there be so many police. If you let your family go to Movies in the Park, you are asking for trouble. It's only a matter of time before an innocent child gets hurt.

By: JohnGalt on 6/2/11 at 2:23

Public stops going and the gangs win.

By: iTiSi on 6/2/11 at 5:10

I couldn't help but laugh reading this article with the statements near the end. Yeh, right bullets don't travel from one part of the park to the other. AND, as long as you are gone by 10:30PM there won't be any shootings. As long as Nashville has the same elements causing the same problems at anytime, one might think carefully about putting ones self and family in these potentially dangerous situations. NV is fast becoming a Memphis JR.

By: parnell3rd on 6/2/11 at 6:16

How come the City Paper and the Tennessean will not report the descriptions of the gang members or the suspects? Racism?

By: wrdnash on 6/3/11 at 5:50

Let's call out the National Guard, surround the park with razorwire and install airport - like body scanners. While we're at it, drug and bomb sniffing dogs should patrol the grounds and a mobile jail set up. Then we can all enjoy a Movie In the Park.

By: mythoughts on 6/3/11 at 6:47

And we are spending millions of dollars to open the 28th Ave corridor! Just saying!

By: Siobhanne on 6/3/11 at 10:09

Neither the Tennessean nor Nashville City Paper reported the descriptions of the gang members at Centennial Park or Wave Country but I watched the video on Newschannel5.com. The video said it all. Kudos to them for honest reporting.