??In Just Over 24 Hours, Louisville Police Shot 3 People, Including 2 Fleeing Teens

Feb 21, 2023 at 5:22 pm
??In Just Over 24 Hours, Louisville Police Shot 3 People, Including 2 Fleeing Teens
photo: Adobe

In the span of just over 24 hours spanning Sunday and Monday, Louisville Metro Police Department officers shot three people, including two teens. 

First, on Sunday evening at about 5:30 p.m., officers shot a woman who was on the street “waving a gun” near Valley Station. While Kentucky State Police is investigating the shooting, LMPD Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said “it appears that the officers followed all protocols and procedures for this department” in the incident. In a statement on Monday, LMPD described the woman’s condition as “stable.” 

Then, on Tuesday afternoon, LMPD said an officer responding to a report of juveniles entering a garage on a vacant property with a suspected stolen vehicle at around 6 p.m. on Monday fired their weapon in what the department called an “accidental” discharge that resulted in one bullet striking two fleeing teens.

At a press conference, LMPD Deputy Chief Paul Humphrey described the injuries the teens sustained as “minor.” He also said the department had “not confirmed that anyone was armed” and that no weapons were recovered from the scene.

According to LMPD, four teens were inside the West End garage when officers arrived on Monday. Humphrey said the officers “attempted to deescalate the situation by keeping the garage door closed” while they waited for backup. An LMPD press release sent out earlier on Tuesday said the officers had their weapons drawn as they waited “due to multiple unknown threats." 

According to Humphrey’s press conference and the LMPD statement, the teens opened the garage door and attempted to flee. 

“As an officer attempted to stop a suspect from fleeing, there was a discharge of his gun,” said Humphrey.

While that officer detained one suspect, three others were able to flee from the scene, Humphrey said. That suspect was uninjured, LMPD said in its statement, and “no evidence presented itself that would alert officers on scene that anyone had been injured.”

The department said about an hour later, two teens with gunshot wounds showed up separately to downtown hospitals. LMPD said the teens gave “conflicting statements” but that detectives were able to tie them to the scene of the shooting, despite both denying they had been in the area.

Asked at the press conference whether the gun’s trigger was pulled or whether it fired after being dropped, Humphrey said: “We haven’t determined why the gun was discharged at this point. Based on what we saw, it appears to be accidental.”

LMPD did not name the officer who fired the shot, but said they have been placed on administrative leave. While the Kentucky State Police usually takes the lead investigating police shootings following the 2020 police killing of Breonna Taylor, LMPD said it would lead the investigation, with state police reviewing their findings. LMPD said that arrangement was what KSP instructed.

On Tuesday, Humphrey said whether the teens face any charges would “come out as part of the investigation.” 

While LMPD addressed Sunday’s shooting within hours, it took nearly a day for the force to make Monday’s shooting public. 

"We recognize that this information did not go out immediately to the public,” said Humphrey, the deputy chief, on Tuesday. “It is very important to us that we are proactively and transparently putting this information out so the public has access to this information about what occurred.” 

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said: “I’m aware of this most recent shooting and Chief Gwinn-Villaroel continues to keep my team and me updated on the investigation. I am relieved none of the officers involved were hurt and that the juveniles involved were not more seriously injured. We are committed to transparency in this process and will provide more details to the public as the investigation progresses. I have instructed LMPD to release the body camera footage as soon as possible.”