One man was killed after police and National Guard soldiers in Louisville, Kentucky, “returned fire” on a crowd they were trying to disperse amid another night of nationwide anti-racism protests, the police chief said.
Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said Monday in a statement that he has authorized the Kentucky State Police to “independently investigate” the shooting that killed the man, who was identified by officials as David McAtee.
Police say officers and National Guard soldiers were dispatched to Dino’s Food Mart in the Russell neighborhood of Louisville around 12:15 a.m. Monday to clear a large crowd in the parking lot.
“Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at,” Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said during a press briefing. “Both LMPD and National Guard members returned fire. We have one man dead at the scene.”
It’s unclear whether McAtee fired at the authorities.
Police say 1 person dead after shooting at Dino’s food mart at 26th/broadway. 2 people shot in car. 1dead, 1 at hospital w non life threatening injuries. No suspects. Police hope witnesses will come fwd w info. People were nearby at events at bars across the street. @WDRBNews pic.twitter.com/NAVk99zUWc
— Sara Sidery (@SaraSideryWDRB) January 21, 2020
Police are interviewing several persons of interest, Conrad said. Authorities are collecting video of the incident and intend to release more information later Monday, he added.
“It has been a very difficult four days for our city,” Conrad said. “Our officers are working very hard to keep people safe and protect property. While doing that, we’ve had officers shot at and assaulted. I think it’s very, very clear that many people do not trust the police. That is an issue that we’re going to have to work and work through for a long time.”
During a news conference Monday afternoon, Beshear called on Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and the Louisville Metro Police Department to publicly release body camera footage of the incident before nightfall.
“I want the people of Kentucky to be able to decide for themselves,” the governor said. “Let’s put it out. Let’s let people see it.”
Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker (D) condemned “the killing of a treasured citizen in our community at the hands of law enforcement.” He called for a citizen review panel with subpoena power to be appointed to investigate the shooting.
“This is a travesty,” Booker said in a statement. “It is devastating to a community that is already grieving and in pain, and it was absolutely avoidable.”
“The decision to send an armed military force into the West End of Louisville is a clear escalation of an already tense situation,” he added. “I have not heard a reasonable explanation for why the National Guard was deployed to 26th and Broadway, or how their presence was intended to make our city any safer.”
Fischer said he met with McAtee’s mother to “mourn and grieve” on Monday.
“Obviously, there are many questions about the incident,” he said in a statement. “I am committed to getting all the answers out as quickly as possible.
My deepest, deepest condolences to the family and friends of David McAtee. pic.twitter.com/zlIIpwpgS0
— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) June 1, 2020
Seven people were shot in Louisville on Thursday evening during a protest demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot and killed by police during a raid on her apartment in March.
All of the victims were recovering, Fischer said at a news conference Friday. The shooters have not yet been publicly identified. Police said officers did not fire any shots during Thursday’s incident.
Protests have erupted across the country since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd, who was unarmed, died after three police officers held him down, including one who knelt on his neck, and ignored his repeated statements that he couldn’t breathe.