A shooting at a protest in Louisville, Kentucky’s Jefferson Square Park resulted in one death and one injury Saturday night, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
The park has been the epicenter of ongoing protests against police brutality and racism, sparked by a series of police killings, including of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville. Several protesters had set up tents and were staying overnight in the park.
The shooting began at around 9 pm ET, according to police. Video posted on social media shows a man firing more than a dozen shots into the crowd from the edge of the park.
Police cleared the park following the shooting early Sunday morning and said demonstrations can continue during the day, but no one will be allowed to stay overnight.
“I am deeply saddened by the violence that erupted in Jefferson Square Park tonight, where those who have been voicing their concerns have been gathered,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer wrote on Facebook. “It is a tragedy that this area of peaceful protest is now a crime scene.”
This is a developing story. Here’s what we know so far.
What we know
- Louisville Metro Police received reports of shots fired at Jefferson Square Park around 9 pm ET Saturday.
- Video posted on Facebook shows a man firing a gun into the park. The clips show people screaming and dropping to the ground; others began running. One person can be seen on the ground as someone near them calls for a medic.
- Interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said Sunday afternoon “the man who is believed to be the primary aggressor,” Steven Nelson Lopez, was hospitalized and is in police custody. The suspect was reportedly shot in the leg by other armed individuals at the park.
- Schroeder added the suspect had taken part in other protests, and had been asked to leave Saturday’s demonstration by other protesters “due to his disruptive behavior.”
- The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reportedly attempted to perform emergency first aid on a man who had been shot. He later died at the scene, and has been identified by Jefferson County’s coroner as 27-year-old Tyler Charles Gerth.
- A second victim was shot and found at the Hall of Justice near the park. They were taken to a local hospital, having sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
- Around 10 pm Saturday, Louisville police arrived at the park in riot gear.
- Police cleared the park after the shooting to begin an investigation, and a local public works team packed up the tents left behind by protesters. Police announced early Sunday morning that camping overnight in the park will no longer be allowed.
- Louisville has been a center of the international protests that have followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May. Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Louisville EMT, was shot and killed by local police in her home on March 13, about 10 weeks before Floyd’s death. None of the three officers involved in Taylor’s death have been arrested.
- A counterprotest featuring “armed freedom fighter patriots” at the park was planned for earlier that day. Some of the anti-racist and police brutality protesters brought their own firearms to the daytime demonstration in anticipation of a confrontation, but no counterprotesters arrived.
- Saturday night’s shooting was not the first in a month of mostly-peaceful protests: Seven people were wounded during a shooting at nearby City Hall in Louisville on May 28.
What we don’t know
- The shooter’s motive and the firearm used