Man dies in shooting at Louisville protest over Breonna Taylor killing

by 24USATVJune 28, 2020, 10 p.m. 17
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Authorities in the US are investigating a fatal shooting at a park in downtown Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday night, where demonstrators had gathered to protest the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was shot in her home by police earlier this year.

Tyler Charles Gerth, 27, of Louisville, was named as the victim of the attack by the Jefferson county coroner’s office on Sunday.

A suspect has been arrested, police said Sunday. The suspect was hospitalized and being interviewed by homicide investigators, interim Louisville police chief Robert Schroeder said at a news conference. The person’s name was not immediately released. Police were conferring with prosecutors on criminal charges to be filed, Schroeder said.

Schroeder said the suspect had been participating in the protests since they began and had been arrested a few times. “He had been repeatedly asked by other members at the park to leave due to his destructive behavior,” Schroeder said.

Reports of shots fired at Jefferson Square park were made around 9pm on Saturday, Louisville metro police said, and Jefferson county sheriff’s department officers performed emergency life-saving measures on a man, but he died at the scene. Another shooting victim across the street at the hall of justice was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Video posted on social media appeared to show a man opening fire into the park as people scrambled for cover. The footage later showed at least one person bleeding profusely on the ground.

“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,” the Louisville mayor, Greg Fischer said. “It is a tragedy that this area of peaceful protest is now a crime scene.”

The park has for weeks been the focus of protests in the city after the police killings of Taylor and George Floyd. Saturday night’s shooting was at least the second during nearly a month of protests in Louisville over Taylor’s death. Seven people were wounded 28 May when gunfire erupted near city hall, prompting a statement from Taylor’s mother asking people to demand justice “without hurting each other”.

“Praying for our city,” tweeted Charles Booker, the Kentucky state representative of Louisville. The Democrat is running for his party’s nomination to challenge Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell in the fall.

Taylor, 26, was killed in her Louisville home in March by police who were serving a no-knock warrant. Protesters have been calling for the officers involved in her death to be charged. One of the officers was recently dismissed.

Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, was originally charged with attempted murder after he fired a shot at one of the officers. Walker has said he thought he was defending the home from intruders.

The no-knock search warrant that allows police to enter without first announcing their presence was recently banned by Louisville’s metro council.

Several dozen people gathered Sunday at the park. A few Louisville police officers arrived to hand out flyers that said overnight camping and cooking were banned at the site, but protesters would be allowed to continue gathering during the day. The move was met with swift opposition from local campaigners.

“The community that was built there is not ending because they decided to throw us out,” Shameka Parrish-Wright said at a Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression press conference on Sunday morning. “We will be back. We’re going to come back stronger, and we’re not going to give up.”

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