On Monday, at least five people were killed and eight were injured in a shooting in Louisville, Kentucky, according to police. The shooter is also dead, officers said.
The shooting took place around 8:38 am ET in the first-floor conference room of Old National Bank in downtown Louisville. The shooter, a 25-year old white male who was an employee at the bank, reportedly opened fire during a morning meeting and livestreamed the attack on Instagram. Bank employees who had joined the meeting via video call also witnessed the violence and were among those who called police.
Louisville Interim Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said the shooter was an active employee and there was “no discussion about this individual being terminated,” after CNN had previously reported that he had been told he was going to be fired from his job.
Police described the shooting as a “targeted” attack since he knew the victims. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they also released audio of 911 calls and body cam footage that captured a shootout with the shooter, and a distressed call from a woman inside the bank.
The five reported dead are Joshua Barrick, Thomas Elliott, Juliana Farmer, James Tutt, and Deana Eckert, all of whom were employees at the bank. Of the people who were initially injured, three — including a police officer who was shot in the head — were still hospitalized, as of Wednesday; one, Eckert, died due to their wounds. The city of Louisville plans to hold a vigil for the victims at 5 pm ET at the Muhammad Ali Center on Wednesday evening.
Officers said the shooter used an AR-15 rifle that was legally obtained during the attack and had no “prior engagement” with police. Police have yet to disclose a specific motive, with a law enforcement source telling CNN that the shooter left a note for his parents and a friend. The shooting in Louisville follows other recent workplace shootings, including at a mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay, California, in January, and at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, in November 2022.
Some regional Democratic lawmakers have called for gun reforms in the wake of the shootings. “This isn’t about partisan politics. This is about life and death. This is about preventing tragedies,” said Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg, who has been the victim of gun violence himself. At the national level, President Joe Biden shared his condolences and similarly asked, “When will Republicans in Congress act to protect our communities?”
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear did not make similar calls in his initial appearances; at one press briefing, he spoke emotionally about one of his “closest friends” who was killed in the shooting and said there would be time to discuss “issues” in the days to come.
“Acts of violence like this hurt,” Beshear said. “They tear at the fabric of who we are, at our society, at our state, at our country, and this city. Today, I’m hurt and I’m hurting, and I know so many people out there are, as well.” According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the legislature’s Republican supermajority has recently focused on bills loosening gun laws, including recently approving a policy that bars local and state police from enforcing federal regulations.
The Louisville bank shooting follows more than 100 mass shootings that have taken place this year, including a school shooting at Covenant School in Nashville in late March that left six people dead.
The country’s large number of shootings points to the unique problem that the US, which has a significantly high rate of civilian gun ownership relative to other countries, has with firearms. A second shooting in the Louisville area on Tuesday at Jefferson Community and Technical College only served to underscore the pervasiveness of gun violence. At least one person was killed and another injured in that shooting, which is not believed to be connected to the Old National Bank mass shooting.
The US has a unique problem with guns
According to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines mass shootings as an incident in which four or more people are shot, the Louisville incident marks the 146th mass shooting in the US in 2023.
That’s far more than other places: While it accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population, the US made up 31 percent of the public mass shootings that occurred globally between 1966 and 2012, according to a 2016 study from University of Alabama criminal justice professor Adam Lankford.
The US also has more civilian-owned guns than any other country in the world, with one 2018 estimate putting the number at 120.5 firearms per 100 residents. For comparison, the countries with the next highest civilian gun ownership levels are Yemen, at 52.8 firearms per 100 residents, and Montenegro, at 39.1 firearms per 100 residents.
As Vox’s Nicole Narea has explained, researchers have identified clear links between gun ownership and gun violence. Notably, a study from the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety has also found that states with weaker gun laws have higher rates of gun violence. According to Everytown, Kentucky is among the states with weaker laws, with legislators rolling back a permit requirement for carrying concealed handguns in 2019. The Kentucky legislature also recently passed “Second Amendment sanctuary” legislation that directs local law enforcement to ignore federal firearms bans.
More aggressive gun reforms, like an assault weapons ban, have been stymied at the federal level due to Republican opposition. Last year, Congress passed a bipartisan gun control package that included a narrow set of reforms including funding for states to implement “red flag” laws, more screening for gun buyers under 21, and a crackdown on illegal guns.
Republicans, who have close ties to the National Rifle Association and who fear backlash from their base voters, have broadly signaled, however, that they aren’t interested in doing more on the issue at this time.
Update, April 12, 5:15 pm ET: This piece was originally published on April 10 and has been updated with new developments, most recently to reflect the shooter’s employment status and the release of additional law enforcement documents.