Louisville police shoot reporter, cameraman with pepper balls in middle of live broadcast

A local Louisville, KY., reporter and camera operator were shot with pepper balls in the middle of a live broadcast on Friday covering protests against police brutality. 

Video of the encounter shows Kaitlin Rust, a reporter for CBS affiliate WAVE 3 News, narrating as she walks around the area of the protest before suddenly screaming, "I'm getting shot!"

Rust appears shocked but continues reporting, explaining what's happening as the camera focuses in on an officer pointing a gun with pepper bullets at the cameraman. 

ADVERTISEMENT

"It's OK. It's those pepper bullets," Rust says.

The anchors back in the studio then ask, "Who are they aiming at?"

"At us," Rust responds. "Directly at us."

Then another anchor says, "They're shooting at our crew."

Pepper balls contain chemicals similar to pepper spray and are shot in pellets. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Seven people were shot and two were hospitalized at protests the previous night in Louisville, according to WAVE 3 News.  

Louisville protests have focused largely on Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, after Taylor was allegedly shot by police in her own home and died. 

Taylor, an EMT, was allegedly shot and killed by Louisville Metro Police Department officers in her apartment on March 13. Plainclothes officers were executing a search warrant in a drug case, according to officials. However, the warrant was allegedly for a man who did not live in the building and who was already in custody at the time of the shooting.

The FBI has opened an investigation into Taylor's death.

On Friday morning, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D) urged against any further violence.

"I urge protesters, as Breonna Taylor’s family said tonight, to say her name," Fischer tweeted. "But let’s not see anyone else get hurt. Let’s work together for peace, justice & for Breonna & all of Louisville."

It was initially reported the police were using rubber bullets, but Jessie Halladay with the Louisville Metro Police Department told WAVE 3 News that the officers there do not use rubber bullets. 

The incident took place as police were reportedly trying to clear the area of large groups of protesters. It is unclear why the police chose to open fire on the reporters.