Police Increase Presence At MTA Bus Station

Posted at 6:18 AM, Apr 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-27 14:35:05-04

Authorities have increased security at the Nashville MTA bus station in downtown after a shooting that injured four people.

The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. Monday on the top floor near the escalator inside the MTA station.

According to Mayor Megan Barry's Office, increased security would be present over the next couple of days as police continue to investigate.  

Javious Chatman, age 18, was critically injured when he was shot in the abdomen. He was in stable condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

The three other victims, Nathaniel Webb and Jonathan Stoner, both 16, and Jalen Jeffries, age 17, suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police said they suffered graze wounds.

Police said a window washer on a nearby building spotted two teens running away from the bus station, and one drop a gun in the shrubbery.

Two teens were detained for questioning but have since been released. MNPD officials said they have since been following strong leads to find and arrest the shooter.

While Metro police investigated on Monday, buses were delayed, and passengers stranded. Witnesses described the scene as chaotic.

“There were students many young children when it happened, everyone scattered 360 degrees,” one man recalled.

The shooting happened during a very busy time of day at the bus station.

About 4,500 students pass through the station on a daily basis. Several schools partner with MTA, allowing students to use their school ID card for a free bus ride home.

Police have been reviewing surveillance footage and are still working to identify the gunman. 

MTA officials held a press conference Tuesday afternoon addressing the incident. MTA CEO, Steve Bland said Monday's incident was the most severe security threat they have faced since its opening.

"This is a very safe place it is one of the most patrolled and observed locations in downtown Nashville, with 44 video surveillance cameras on site," said Bland.

He said MNPD central precinct flex team officers will be working on site to patrol the area. They asked customers to be aware and report any suspicious activity uniform personnel. 

Joe Bass with Metro Nashville Public Schools released a statement reassuring parents of their childrens' safety.

"In the aftermath of this violent incident, we want to reassure both students and parents that safety is always our number one priority. We will do what is necessary to keep our students safe in school and in school-related public spaces like Music City Central," said Bass.

To read Bass' full statement click here.

Tuesday afternoon local advocates held a peace rally at the bus station to empower teens to take back the space after the violence.

"It's really important for our youth to be able to move around the city for opportunities to keep them out of trouble and set them up for success," said Abby Whisenant with the Oasis Center. She says Metro Transit is vital for teens across the city. 

16-year-old Jerock Walker was right behind the victims when they were shot. He says the incident has changed his life.

"I'm starting my own organization called Teens Against Violence," he said, inspired by the events from the night before.

Anyone with information was urged to call Crime Stoppers at 615-74-CRIME.