NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — What was an employee of a non-violence group doing in the middle of a shoot-out in North Nashville with an "AK-47 style" weapon?
That is among the questions raised by a continuing NewsChannel 5 investigation of Gideon's Army, a group that's trying to get another $1 million of taxpayer money for its efforts to reduce violence in North Nashville.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered that a top member of Gideon's Army leadership was also right in the middle of the gun battle, but police say he never offered any assistance to investigators in making any arrests.
The group has not responded to NewsChannel 5's questions about why the employee, Cleveland Shaw Jr., was caught on video carrying the gun.
Gideon's Army has tried to claim that their violence interruption efforts have produced near-miraculous results in the Cumberland View housing projects, an area nicknamed "Dodge City."
The group's lead violence interrupter, Hambino Godbody, recorded a social media video on March 5 touting the group's success.
"Right now, what you’re bearing witness to is Dodge City projects." Godbody told the camera.
"Ain’t no soft motherf**kers over here. It’s real warriors. It’s motherf**kers that’ll bring you pain. But, guess what? Zero percent violence in almost a year!"
Godbody suggested that, if there was any violence, it would come from outside the community.
"We know there’s outsiders. We know there’s haters. There are haters that might want to slide through here, you know what I’m saying. But, hey, if you hate on God, just beware because God don’t lose."
Less than three weeks later, as surveillance cameras scattered around the development captured a community quietly enjoying a sunny spring day, the children playing together with seemingly not a care in the world, that calm was shattered.
"Please, please, can you all please get out here? Please," begged a woman who called 911.
This surveillance video shows area residents running and ducking for cover.
"They over here, shooting like a motherf**ker over here," a male caller declared. "About a hundred godd**n shots that went off."
Instinctively, the children also scatter, some ducking inside, others just running as far as they can, as fast as they can.
"My kids, they hiding in somebody’s house," a mother told 911. Asked how many shots had been fired, the woman whispered, "Like a hundred, like a hundred."
When the gunfire stopped, two 17-year-olds would be wounded.
Neither would cooperate with police.
"This s**t is getting ridiculous," another caller said. "Firing bullets and bullets, children out here running. It’s ridiculous."
Less than two weeks later, the Gideon’s Army leader would be back on social media, claiming: “STILL almost a year with no violence!!!”
After the recent controversial plea bargain of former Metro police officer Andrew Delke for the shooting of Daniel Hambrick, Gideon’s Army founder Rasheedat Fetuga also wrote a column arguing that policing is just a way to “control Black people.”
Gideon’s Army, on the other hand, she claimed, had experienced “no community shootings … or any violent crimes” on its watch in Cumberland View “for 10 months.”
For Gideon's Army, there should have been no doubt that the shooting on that sunny day back in March occurred during that 10-month period when they were publicly claiming there was no violence.
That's because two of the group’s employees were right there in the middle of it all.
This is how Fetuga described the incident back in June:
"A few weeks ago, there was an active shooter and Hambino, our lead violence interrupter, was able to get that situation under control before the police even came because he was in the community and unarmed, completely unarmed."
Grainy surveillance video obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates shows the beginning when shots are first fired.
Watch video of initial shooting below:
The crowd suddenly scatters.
On the sidewalk, a male in a white shirt appears to fire a gun.
Out in the street, a second man in white tackles a person dressed in black.
But then the gunman from the sidewalk runs over and appears to pull the second man away, leaving the person in black lying in the street.
"The big challenge is just getting information," said police Detective Devon Morgan.
Morgan said that, when police got to the scene, no one there admitted to seeing anything.
"You don't miss a shooting like that. It's loud, it's like an explosion, you obviously see things. Everybody has a cell phone."
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "But no one saw anything, supposedly?"
"No one saw any specific details, just heard shots."
According to an account Godbody gave the property manager, he “tackled one of the alleged shooters,” supposedly to “protect him and also wait until police arrived.”
Then, “another alleged shooter approached Hambino while holding this individual down and was carrying a gun.”
In the video, NewsChannel 5 observed a person tackling another individual in the street, although it's not clear if that is Godbody.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Detective Morgan, "So no one from Gideon's Army came up to officers and volunteered information?"
"There was no information given, did not receive one phone call from a citizen or Gideon's Army," he answered.
But NewsChannel 5 analyzed the video.
At 5:28 p.m., you see people running from the gunfire.
Thirty seconds later, a man sprints from the scene.
Neighborhood security identified that man as Cleveland Shaw, a longtime gang leader and an employee of Gideon’s Army.
At 5:29 p.m., Shaw runs back into view.
This time, he’s got what security described as "an AK-47 style weapon" in his hand.
"I would have loved to have spoken to him and to have found out what was going on," Morgan said. "That's not how the police operate, that kind of vigilante-type actions."
Shaw, who had a domestic violence conviction that prohibited him from possessing a firearm, runs back toward the scene of the shooting and out of view.
About 45 seconds later, a panicked crowd begins running from what appears to be a second shooting.
Again, remember this is a period where Gideon’s Army says there was no violence.
One frightened man hits the pavement behind a car.
"I believe it was a second shooting," the detective agreed.
A short time later, a young man walks back into view, carrying what appears to be a similar-sized weapon.
He gets into a black sedan.
Right behind him, Cleveland Shaw emerges.
This time, the Gideon’s Army employee’s hands appear to be empty.
Watch video of Shaw retrieving gun below:
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked the detective, "Any idea what Cleveland Shaw did with his weapon?"
"No idea," Morgan said. "Nobody knew, nobody would say what happened with the weapon. I just don't know."
Two weeks later, Shaw would end up being killed in what police say was another apparent shootout.
"We just want people safe and we want victims not to feel traumatized in their own neighborhoods," the detective said.
NewsChannel 5 asked, "And if Gideon's Army has information, you would welcome it?"
"Welcome it now," he agreed.
"The case is still open. Any information that they have on any case, detectives are welcoming that information."
Godbody declined our request for an interview, and Fetuga has not responded to questions about why Shaw had the gun.
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