JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Johnson City Police (JCPD) are still searching for the person responsible for shooting and injuring two people around 1 a.m. Saturday.
“We received multiple calls on shots being fired in the downtown area. Officers responded to that area and discovered that two subjects had been struck by a bullet in the vicinity of Spring and Tipton street,” said Capt. Peters with the Johnson City Police Department. “Spring street toward Tipton is where the person was standing when they actually did the shooting is a little bit of a guess right now.”
Along with the victims, cars and a business were damaged in the incident.
“Six vehicles were reported being struck- most of the damage comes from windows being busted out. There has been some bodywork damage to some of the vehicles,” Peters said. “One business did have the window shot. That was where one of the victims was sitting inside the business. He did not really require any type of treatment. He was not transported to the hospital or anything. The bullet pretty much struck him and left a welt.”
Police wouldn’t say which business was damaged and don’t believe either victim knew the shooter.
“Neither of the victims seemed to be involved in the altercation. They were just innocent bystanders,” said Peters. “The other one was standing on the sidewalk out in front of another business, not really involved in anything. We feel like he might have been struck by a bullet that ricocheted off a vehicle.”
Peters isn’t sure what lead to the shooting.
“I have to assume there was [an altercation] for somebody to be shooting at someone or somebody to be shooting,” he said.
Witnesses there told police the suspect was a Black male in black clothing between 6′ 1″ and 6′ 3″ tall according to the release.
“The only thing we know right now is that it was a light skin male,” Peters explained further. “They’ve been described as either being a black male or either having olive skin- around 6′ to 6’4″.”
Meenu Singh owns Wonderland Lounge and Grill. She said she heard the shots ring out.
“We heard some shots so we all kind of ran inside. I was right at the door,” she recalled. “We had to lock the door because we didn’t know what happened.”
Wonderland has been under strict security rules for about a year now.
“Our customers, they want more safety,” she said. “When the first shooting happened, we started checking everybody for guns, knives, we’re not letting anybody in if they have anything sharp with them.”
Melody Howard just expanded her business, Hometown Cottage, to Johnson City – right next to Wonderland. She’s worried about her employees.
“Even though we were closed, it happened right in front of our store,” she said. “I started thinking of ways I could make [my employees] feel safer when they come in because I know this isn’t the first time this has happened here in Tipton and Spring Street area so it is a little scary.”
Both business owners agree that what happens late at night on the weekends impacts all of downtown.
“[My employee] sent me a picture of the police outside kind of scoping the area to try to figure out what had happened and they were looking at one of the cars that had a bullet hole in the window so obviously that’s very scary,” she said. “We don’t use that parking lot but our customers sometimes park in this area and out front in front of the store so I’m sure it scares customers too.”
“People get scared, they don’t want to come to the downtown area – and it’s not our business…. it’s all the businesses get affected when something like that happens,” said Singh.
Johnson City Police are investigating several shootings this month.
“Anytime you have people randomly shooting inside the city limits – we are concerned. I don’t think the downtown area is any more dangerous than anywhere else,” said Peters. “[People] just need to exercise extreme caution when out in the area like that – especially late at night when they’re out and there’s a large crowd of people around. There is a tendency for fights to break out after the bars are closing.”
The investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to reach out to investigators at 423-434-6166 or to submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 434-6158.