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Six people shot in Chattanooga, Tennessee, near city's waterfront

Two of the injured were described as being in critical condition. Most of the victims were not specifically targeted, the city's police chief said.
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Six people were shot in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, police said Sunday.

Shots rang out shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday near the city's Riverfront, where officers who were already patrolling the area immediately responded to render aid, Chattanooga Police Department Chief Celeste Murphy said at a news conference Sunday.

"The officers observed multiple parties firing, and then they observed multiple victims that had been hit but the gunfire," the chief said.

The victims included two people in critical condition and four hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said. Most if not all were teenagers, city officials indicated at the news conference.

"Kids have always gotten into scuffles with each other," Mayor Tim Kelly said at the event. "What is new is they now have access to handguns and firearms."

He added, "Easy access to illegal guns is killing kids."

The altercation took place amid a number of groups of children roaming the area relatively late, which had prompted officers to deploy to the downtown and Riverfront areas even before the shooting started, city officials said.

A person of interest detained for questioning and investigation overnight did not end up being a suspect, Murphy said, and the search continued for two suspected shooters.

The attackers were not engaged in a shootout, as authorities said previously, but rather were opening fire from the same side of a dispute against another group as the sides clashed late Saturday, the chief said.

Investigators believe there was one person targeted, and the rest of those struck were "unintended," Murphy said.

"Last night, our city felt the terrible cost of gun violence. My heart is with the families whose lives have been upended by this horrific situation," Kelly tweeted Sunday morning. "This is unacceptable - our city and our community will act."