One dead, one injured after gunfire erupts at Louisville Breonna Taylor protest
One man was killed and another person was injured on Saturday night after gunshots were fired at a park where demonstrators in Louisville, Kentucky, had gathered to protest racial injustice and the police killing of Breonna Taylor.
The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department said it received reports of shots being fired at the Jefferson Square Park around 9 p.m. One man died on the scene after Sheriff’s Department personnel attempted to perform life-saving measures, police said, adding that another shooting victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Police said that officers cleared the park as part of its investigation into the shooting. They did not provide any details on the suspect’s gender, noting early Sunday that its “investigators continue to work the homicide case.”
“Detectives are trying to gather as much information as possible in order to identify all who were involved in the incident,” the department said in a series of tweets.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D) said on Twitter that he was “deeply saddened by the violence that erupted in Jefferson Square Park tonight, where those who have been voicing their concerns have been gathered.”
“It is a tragedy that this area of peaceful protest is now a crime scene,” he said.
Video shared on social media showed demonstrators scrambling for cover and others lying on the pavement as several gun shots rang out at Jefferson Square Park, which has become a frequent location for protests in the city.
In wake of the shooting, police said that they would only allow protests to take place at the park during the day. They also noted that tents would be barred from premises.
“We continue to support the peaceful exercise of free speech. However, our primary focus must be on public safety,” the department said.
CONTENT WARNING: This video of today’s shooting at Jefferson Square Park was pulled from the FB livestream of one of Louisville’s more vocal protesters. Absolutely horrifying to see. To my friends, coworkers and anybody else down there, please be vigilant. Please be safe. pic.twitter.com/AT8PiOIKrG
— John Boyle (@JBernardBoyle) June 28, 2020
The park has reportedly been at the center of protests for weeks now, as activists speak out over the deaths of Taylor and George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Taylor, 26, died in mid-March after three Louisville police officers entered her home as they served a so-called no-knock warrant in the middle of the night. Police have said they knocked and identified themselves, though the Taylor family’s attorney disputes this.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was in the apartment at the time and claims he shot at officers after they entered without knocking or announcing who they were. The three officers are accused of returning about 20 shots, at least eight of which struck Taylor.
Brett Hankison, one of the officers involved in the incident, was formally terminated last week after an investigation found he violated police procedures on standard use of force. Hankison “blindly” fired 10 shots in Taylor’s apartment without supporting facts that the force was necessary, interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder said.
Fischer signed “Breonna’s Law” earlier this month, a measure that bans the practice of no-knock warrants, which allow officers to enter a home without identifying themselves.
Protestors are calling for criminal charges to be filed against the officers involved in the case.
A group of protestors late Saturday night held a moment of silence for the people who were shot, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. The tribute was reportedly followed by chants of “say her name, Breonna Taylor.”
“Praying for our city,” Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker (D), who is running for a U.S. Senate seat, tweeted.
Praying for our city.
— Charles Booker (@Booker4KY) June 28, 2020