COVINGTON, Tenn. - Four people are recovering after shots rang out Wednesday night in Covington.
Covington police have not arrested anyone in connection to this shooting nor are they releasing any information about potential suspects at this time.
“We’re trying to see if this particular shooting is connected to any shootings that we’ve had recently in the county that the sheriff’s office was working,” Covington police chief Buddy Lewis said. “Right now, it’s still ongoing.”
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According to Lewis, there were 41 rounds of ammunition found on the street, just north of a home shot on College Street.
One nearby neighbor told FOX13 that her home had multiple bullet holes, too. Her windows and door frame sustained damage.
"There were a large number of shell casings located in the street to the north of the residence," Lewis said. "The shell casings were from a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun."
All victims were in non-critical condition and transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Tipton, according to the Covington Police Department.
A FOX13 crew arrived at Covington City Hall as Lewis, Mayor Justin Hanson and a city council member were meeting about Wednesday night’s shooting.
Within minutes, Hanson and Lewis stepped outside for on-camera interviews.
“There’s no person who takes this more seriously than I do,” Mayor Hanson said. “It was a sleepless night.”
Hanson showed frustration with the shooting.
He said gang activity has been a documented problem for the city for 20 to 25 years, also acknowledging the city's recent increase of violent crime.
This shooting has not been officially connected to gang violence and the investigation is ongoing.
“This is unacceptable behavior. I liken the behavior of Wednesday night to nothing but domestic terrorism,” Hanson said. “We’ve got a handful of domestic terrorists who repeatedly hold our city hostage and it’s less than one percent of the population. But it’s one percent too much.”
Plan of action.
Last October, Lewis announced his plan of action to curb violent crime and gang activity in the city.
It is a plan the police chief brought up when speaking with FOX13 Thursday afternoon.
“Criminals are not going to commit crimes when police officers are around,” Lewis said. “I’ve put together a plan last year to focus on violent crime in our city. I stand by that plan.”
Lewis’ plan is a three-prong approach. The police chief called for initiating a gang prevention/crime--a prevention unit at the police department, the development of a more interactive relationship with the community and the employment of more police officers on the street.
FOX13 reviewed a two-page portion of that plan on Thursday.
Within his plan, the chief wrote the following: “Enacted, I guarantee this plan will make a major impact on public safety in the City of Covington. Within six months from the date of initiated action of this plan, the City of Covington will be a safer city.”
FOX13 does not have crime numbers for Covington during that particular time period; however, according to Covington police data, there was one homicide and 153 shots fired calls, including non-confirmed shots for 2018.
There are no homicides so far in the city this year, according to Lewis.
Lewis said he needs more officers for his plan to work.
There are currently 34 Covington police officers, per Lewis, but the department is set to lose three next week.
"Three are leaving for military deployment," Lewis said
In a text, Hanson said the plan is in place, but some of it requires more money and additional resources.
He said they are working on that.
“I’m committed in keeping our residents as safe as possible at whatever cost possible,” Hanson said. “There’s no cost that you can associate or tie to public safety. I mean, public safety is the paramount of any government.”
“It’s going to take additional resources for the Covington Police Department and once we get those things working together, we can make some good things happen,” Lewis said.
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