At least one person was killed and at least one person was injured after gunfire erupted in Louisville on Saturday during a protest to demand justice for the police death of Breonna Taylor, an innocent Black woman who was killed in her own home. One video from the incident showed a man shooting deliberately into an encampment of protesters just one day after it was reported that “armed patriot groups” of counterprotesters were expected to be there.
While all the details were still unclear, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported Saturday night that “shots were fired in Jefferson Square Park,” the downtown section of the city where the protests against Taylor’s police killing have been taking place for weeks. One person died following that shooting as protesters have turned Jefferson Square Park into an encampment complete with tents. Police later responded to another shooting where that victim was hospitalized.
There were no reports of any arrest being made and the gunman was presumed to still be at large as of early Sunday morning.
Videos from the scene quickly populated social media timelines, including footage of an unidentified man who was recorded aiming and shooting a gun multiple times. The video follows below and is graphic.
It was not immediately clear if the person who died or the people who were injured were victims of the above shooter.
However, what was immediately clear was that police should have been expecting and prepared for such a shooting at Saturday’s protest considering that on Friday the Louisville Courier-Journal reported: “Counterprotesters that include ‘armed patriot groups’ may come to downtown Louisville Saturday, according to social media posts and a Facebook event acknowledged by police.”
Video showed the police reacting to the shooting instead of being proactive to try to prevent the threats of anti-protester violence to become the reality that it did on Saturday. By that point, of course, it was way too late and at least one life had been lost to violence that police said on Friday they would be ready for.
“Over the past few weeks, there have been several social media posts about planned protest, so it is difficult to know exactly who will show up on Saturday,” Louisville Metro Police spokeswoman Jessie Halladay wrote in a brief statement to reporters released Friday. “However, LMPD will be prepared to handle the situation.”
Halladay went on to add that cops would “address the situation as best we can.”
Not exactly a rousing endorsement of the department’s abilities at such a crucial time in its existence.
Meanwhile, none of the three officers involved in Taylor’s shooting have been arrested or charged for their roles in the March 13 killing the 26-year-old EMT who was working as an essential employee on the front lines fighting against the coronavirus.
More than three months later, Lousiville Officer Brett Hankison was fired on Tuesday because of his “extreme indifference to the value of human life” by “wantonly and blindly” shooting into Taylor’s home. However, Louisville Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove had avoided being terminated as of late Saturday night even though they also fired their weapons during the botched execution of a no-knock search warrant that wasn’t only at the wrong location but was also in search of a suspect who was already in custody.
Taylor’s killing came after Ahmaud Arbery‘s alleged murder happened in February and before George Floyd‘s police homicide in May, all of which have contributed to ongoing nationwide protests against racism, police violence and what is often times the deadly combination of the two.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.