A 20-year-old Piedmont man was airlifted to a Tennessee hospital after being shot Wednesday night, according to police.

Piedmont police Chief Freddie Norton said the man was in “critical condition in ICU” Thursday morning at a Chattanooga hospital. Norton said the shooting happened at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at a South Fifth Avenue home.

Norton said police were continuing to investigate the situation Thursday and were “not ready to say” more about the situation. He said no arrests had been made Thursday morning.

“It’s still open,” Norton said by phone of the investigation Thursday morning. “I’m not sure all the family knows what happened quite yet.”

Shannon Hogue of Piedmont Rescue said the shooting victim was likely flown to Chattanooga because hospitals in Birmingham were busy with other patients. A statewide program helps first responders send patients to the nearest available hospitals. The Birmingham-based trauma communications center takes note of participating hospitals’ capacities throughout the day and what types of trauma they can handle. The center, an arm of Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Services, functions around the clock, every day of the year.

“TCC keeps up with what hospitals can handle at any point,” Hogue said Thursday. “I’m sure Birmingham could’ve handled last night’s case, but they were probably full.”

Lee Morton of the trauma communications center said the program also includes a handful of hospitals outside the state. Morton listed Erlanger Health Systems in Chattanooga as one of those, along with hospitals in Atlanta; Pensacola, Florida; and Columbus, Miss.  

Staff Writer Danie Waddell-Cranford: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @DanieeW.

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