A 25-year-old man opened fire at a bank in Louisville, Ky., on Monday, killing five people — including a close friend of the governor’s — and wounding eight others, including two police officers, officials said.
The deceased victims were identified by police as Tommy Elliott, 63; Joshua Barrick, 40; Jim Tutt, 64; and Juliana Farmer, 57; and Deanna Eckert, 57.
The suspected shooter, Connor Sturgeon, an employee of the bank, is also dead. He used a rifle to carry out the attack, which police say he was livestreaming on Instagram
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, who was close friends with Elliott, ordered flags throughout the state to fly at half-staff until Friday evening in honor of the victims.
Here’s everything we know so far.
How it unfolded
The shooting began just after 8:30 a.m. inside Old National Bank in downtown Louisville. Police responded within three minutes to calls of what authorities initially described as an “active aggressor.”
Law enforcement officials define active aggressors as suspects who indiscriminately try to hurt or kill as many people as possible. Such incidents include shootings, stabbings and other attacks.
When officers arrived, they encountered the suspect, who was “still firing gunshots,” Louisville Metro Police Department Deputy Chief Paul Humphrey told reporters at a news conference.
A video posted to Twitter showed police arriving in the area as gunshots rang out. In the footage, an officer is seen running into the street to warn motorists.
“Active shooter in the bank! Get out of your cars! Active shooter in the bank!” the officer is heard shouting.
Inside the bank, officers exchanged gunfire with the shooter, who died at the scene, Humphrey said. He added that authorities were trying to confirm whether the suspect had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound or was killed by the officers. The shooter acted alone, he said.
“We believe this is a lone gunman involved in this,” he said.
At an afternoon press briefing, Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, Louisville’s interim police chief, said three of the nine wounded victims were in critical condition.
Two officers were among those injured, including one who was struck in the head with a bullet and was rushed into surgery at University of Louisville Hospital.
That officer was identified as Nicholas Wilt, 26, who had just recently graduated from the Louisville police training academy.
“I just swore him in, and his family was there to witness his journey to become a police officer,” Gwinn-Villaroel said, adding that Wilt had come out of surgery and was listed in critical but stable condition.
Police have yet to publicly identify a motive for the attack. Gwinn-Villaroel said that the suspect was livestreaming the shooting online, and that authorities were working to have the footage removed from the internet.
Praise for police response to latest U.S. mass shooting
Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg thanked first responders, including the “brave and heroic” officers who rushed into the bank.
“Without a doubt, their actions saved lives,” Greenberg said.
The Democratic mayor also asked for prayers for the victims of this latest mass shooting in the United States.
“I ask that everyone around our city, around the country, around the world, pray with us for those who are currently at University of Louisville Hospital injured, fighting for their lives, as a result of another act of gun violence,” he said.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as one in which a minimum of four victims are shot, not including any shooter, there have been at least 145 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2023, including Monday’s in Louisville.
It came two weeks after six people, including three children, were killed in a mass shooting at a Nashville Christian elementary school.
“I want everyone in the city to know that notwithstanding tragedies like today, when multiple people are killed by gun violence, our community will continue to come together,” the mayor continued. “We will find ways to love and support one another and the families and friends who have been directly impacted by these acts of gun violence. And we will come together as a community to work to prevent these horrific acts of gun violence from continuing here and around the state.”
Greenberg added: “We will get through this together.”
Governor’s friend among victims
At the morning news conference, the governor said he had a personal connection with Monday’s shooting.
“This is awful. I have a very close friend that didn’t make it today,” Beshear said, holding back tears. “So when we talk about praying, I hope people will.”
The bank building, he said, was the location where he ran his campaign for attorney general, adding that he knew “virtually everyone in it.”
“That’s my bank,” he said.
At an afternoon press briefing, Beshear revealed that Elliott had been one of his “closest friends.”
“Tommy Elliott helped me build my law career, helped me become governor,” Beshear said. “Gave me advice on being a good dad. One of the people I talked to most in the world, but very rarely were we talking about my job. He was an incredible friend.”
Beshear said he hopes survivors and families of all the victims will reach out to get the help they need. He thanked law enforcement, including the FBI and ATF agents assisting local police in the investigation.
“I want people to know that while today is a horrific act, I do believe that this is a safe community with officers doing their very best each and every day,” he added. “And that’s what we saw here.”
How the White House responded
President Biden released a statement condemning the latest mass shooting in the United States — and the refusal of congressional Republicans to act.
“Once again, our nation is in mourning after a senseless act of gun violence,” Biden said. “Jill and I are praying for those killed and injured in the tragic shooting in Louisville, and for the survivors who will carry grief and trauma for the rest of their lives. We are grateful to the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officers who quickly and courageously stepped into the line of fire to save others.”
According to the White House, the president spoke by phone to Beshear about the tragedy on Monday evening.
“How many more Americans must die before Republicans in Congress will act to protect our communities?” Biden continued. “It’s long past time that we require safe storage of firearms. Require background checks for all gun sales. Eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability. We can and must do these things now.
“A strong majority of Americans want lawmakers to act on commonsense gun safety reforms,” the president added. “Instead, from Florida to North Carolina to the U.S. House of Representatives, we’ve watched Republican officials double down on dangerous bills that make our schools, places of worship and communities less safe. It’s unconscionable, it’s reckless, and too many Americans are paying with their lives.”