Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A 25-year-old man shot and killed five people with a rifle on Monday at the downtown bank where he worked, the police said. Eight others were wounded in the attack, two of them critically. The suspect, who officials said was livestreaming the rampage, was killed by the police after exchanging fire with them.

The police identified four of the victims as employees of Old National Bank: Joshua Barrick, 40; Thomas Elliott, 63; Juliana Farmer, 45; and James Tutt, 64. It was not immediately clear if the fifth victim, Deanna Eckert, 57, worked at the bank; she initially survived the shooting but died on Monday night, according to the police. Among the critically wounded was Nickolas Wilt, 26, who had graduated from the police academy on March 31.

Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, the interim chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, identified the shooter as Connor Sturgeon. According to a LinkedIn page, he was a “syndications associate and portfolio banker” at Old National, a regional bank. He had worked there full time for nearly two years after interning there over previous summers. The police did not specify a motive.

Several national political figures, including President Biden, issued statements on Monday deploring the violence in Louisville and urging action on gun legislation. Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, a Democrat, said that the day ought to be focused on “friends and loved ones that are no longer with us.”

Still, the morning that unfolded in Louisville was a snapshot of a country echoing with gunfire. Not long after the police had responded to the massacre at the bank, two people were shot, one fatally, outside a community college less than two miles away. It was not immediately clear what had led to that shooting.

“The two incidents appear to be entirely unrelated,” Mayor Craig Greenberg of Louisville said at an afternoon news conference. “But they both took lives. They both leave people scarred, grieving and angry. I share all of those feelings myself right now.”

“I’m a survivor of a workplace shooting,” said the mayor, who was shot at in his office last year by a young man with mental health troubles. “To the people who survived, whether you were physically hurt or not, I know that you’re hurting, too.”

The branch of the Old National Bank where the shooting took place sits in a quarter of downtown Louisville crowded with condos and office buildings, not far from the Ohio River. The building shares a block with the Louisville Ballet and is across the street from Louisville Slugger Field, a ballpark where the minor-league Louisville Bats play.

Troy Haste, an account executive with Old National Bank, was in a conference room on Monday morning when the gunfire started, he told WHAS, a local ABC affiliate. “We heard a click, and the lady next to me turned around and said, ‘What the hell?’” Mr. Haste said. “And he just started shooting. He had a long assault rifle, and the shots just started firing.”

Chief Gwinn-Villaroel said that the police had received reports of shots fired at the bank at 8:38 a.m. “Officers were on the scene within three minutes,” she said. “The suspect shot at officers. We then returned fire and stopped that threat.”

The chief said she was not aware of any prior engagement the gunman might have had with the police. She did not give any further details about his livestreaming of the mass shooting, other than to say that it was “tragic to know that incident was out there being captured.”

The University of Louisville Hospital received nine patients, including two police officers, from the shooting, said Dr. Jason W. Smith, the chief medical officer at the hospital. Three had been released as of Monday afternoon, three remained in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and three — including Ms. Eckert — were critically wounded and had required operations, Dr. Smith said. Officer Wilt required brain surgery, he added.

Ms. Eckert’s death was announced about six hours later.

Officials and Louisville residents praised the quick response of the Louisville police, who faced serious criticism after the botched raid that killed Breonna Taylor in 2020. Just last month, the Justice Department released a 90-page report condemning the department over what it identified as a wide range of abuses and misconduct.

How we cover mass shootings. We balance the importance of informing our readers against the equally important responsibility to avoid sensationalizing violent acts. For example, The Times generally avoids publishing images in which a gunman is brandishing weapons. We explain any ideology that might have influenced the gunman, but we do not typically publish manifestos. We focus on the victims and survivors and try to put the event in context for our audience.

“I know that there are steps that the police department is taking to do things better after a recent report,” Mr. Beshear said at a midday news conference. “But we certainly saw, I think, the very best from them today.”

By Monday afternoon, vigils had been announced around the city as Louisville began mourning the dead. At Holy Trinity Catholic Church on Monday evening, the Rev. Shayne Duvall spoke to the hundreds gathered in the pews about Mr. Barrick, describing him as “a very active, hands-on, ideal parishioner.”

“The last conversation I had with him was two weeks ago, and he said to me, ‘I will do anything I can for you — just let me know what you need,’” Father Duvall said.

Another of the victims, Mr. Elliott, a vice president of the bank, was a well-known Democratic fund-raiser and a longtime friend of the governor’s family.

“We lost four children of God today, one of whom was one of my closest friends,” said Governor Beshear, who had to stop to collect his emotions as he spoke. “Tommy Elliott helped me build my law career, helped me become governor, gave me advice on being a good dad. He’s one of the people I talk to most in the world, and very rarely were we talking about my job. He was an incredible friend.”

State Senator David Yates, a Democrat, described Mr. Elliott as a political “kingmaker” who had been a generous presence in his own career. He recalled once taking a four-and-a-half-hour Greyhound bus ride to a government conference with Mr. Elliott, who had been supportive of Mr. Yates’s fledgling political ambitions when he was fresh out of law school. They talked about “what we could do to make the world a better place,” Mr. Yates said.

Mr. Beshear, who based his 2015 campaign for attorney general in the bank building, said he had initially thought that he had lost two other friends in the shooting. One turned out to be OK, he said at a news conference, and another was in the emergency room. “While it’s going to take him a while to heal, it was so good to see my friend — see him there with his wife and know he is still with us,” the governor said.

Mr. Beshear’s public remarks about his connections to the victims in the shooting on Monday came weeks after Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee announced that his wife, Maria, had been a friend of two of the six people killed last month in the Covenant School shooting in Nashville. Mr. Lee said that his wife had known Katherine Koonce, the head of the school, and Cindy Peak, who was supposed to have had dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Lee on the night of the shooting.

State Representative Keturah Herron, a Democrat who represents part of Louisville, said on Twitter that shootings like Monday’s were “happening around the country in a city daily.”

“Today was our turn,” she said, adding, “We live in a war zone and we shouldn’t have to.”

Reporting was contributed by Johnny Diaz and Jesus Jiménez. Kitty Bennett, Alain Delaquérière and Kirsten Noyes contributed research.

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