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.