Louisville bank shooting leaves 5 dead, 8 wounded, including officer
LOUISVILLE — A 25-year-old bank employee who police said was live-streaming his rampage attacked his workplace in downtown Louisville on Monday morning, using a rifle to kill fiveco-workers and injure eightother people, in the latest mass killing to shock an American community. Police shot and killed the gunman at the scene, authorities said.
Among those killed were executives at Old National Bank, including a close friend of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D), who choked up as he described the loss of a confidant he said helped him build his legal and political careers. The injured included a 23-year-old police officer who had been sworn in 10 days before and who on Monday was fighting for his life after having been shot in the head.
What prompted the gunman, whom police identified as Connor Sturgeon, to carry out the attack remained unclear Monday afternoon. Louisville interim police chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said it was her understanding that Sturgeon had no previous interactions with law enforcement, and she confirmed that he was streaming the attack on Instagram. But she released few other details about the incident, citing an ongoing investigation.
The shooting shattered the regular bustle of a sunny start to the new workweek, sending office workers into lockdown as law enforcement swarmed the commercial area of Louisville shortly before 9 a.m. Officers were at the bank within minutes and stopped the shooter as he was firing, authorities said. But as was the case at a school shooting two weeks before in Nashville, where a former student killed three children and three adults, a rapid police response did not prevent the loss of life.
Within hours, Louisville police were responding to a second, unrelated shooting at a community college less than two miles from Old National Bank. One person was killed and another was injured in that incident, authorities said.
Monday’s shooting was the latest in a string of attacks that have become stunningly routine. In the past year, attacks have left dozens dead and maimed in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, Calif.; Chesapeake, Va.; Colorado Springs; Highland Park, Ill.; Uvalde, Tex.; and Buffalo.
The bank shooting was the 15th mass killing this year, according to a database maintained by Northeastern University, the Associated Press and USA Today that tracks incidents that involve four or more victims. Nearly 80 people have been killed in the incidents, according to the database.
The Louisville bank shooting highlighted the indiscriminate reach of the relentless march of U.S. gun violence: Like Beshear, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg — who was the target of a shooting at his campaign office in 2021 — said he, too, was good friends with one of those killed, 63-year-old Thomas Elliott. State Sen. David Yates (D), also tweeted that he knew a victim.
The shooting made Beshear at least the second governor in a matter of weeks to learn that a friend had been slain in a mass killing. Among the victims in the Nashville shooting, at a small private school, were a substitute teacher and the head of the school, both of whom were family friends of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R). The teacher was scheduled to dine with Tennessee first lady Maria Lee on the night of the shooting.
Police identified the fourothers killed in Louisville as Joshua Barrick, 40; Juliana Farmer, 45; James Tutt, 64;and Deana Eckert, 57. Twoof the injured were in critical condition lateMonday, including Officer Nickolas Wilt, who underwent brain surgery, officials said. Three have non-life-threatening injuries, and three were released; five were treated for gunshot wounds, according to Jason Smith, chief medical officer for University of Louisville Health.
Elliott, who went by “Tommy,” was a senior vice president at Old National Bank and served as chair of Beshear’s inaugural committee in 2019. Elliott was threatened with arrest in 2016 when he battled his removal as chair of the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board by Matt Bevin, then serving as governor. Elliott had been appointed by former governor Steve Beshear — the current governor’s father — and Andy Beshear, then the attorney general, challenged Elliott’s removal.
“Tommy Elliott helped me build my law career. Helped me become governor. Gave me advice on being a good dad,” an emotional Beshear said. “He was an incredible friend.”
Barrick was the senior vice president of commercial real estate banking at Old National Bank, according to his LinkedIn profile. He left behind a wife and two children, according to a post from his church, Holy Trinity Parish Louisville. “Our hearts are heavy, they are broken, and we are searching for answers,” the church’s pastor wrote on Facebook. Farmer was a loan analyst at the bank, according to her LinkedIn page, and Eckert was an executive administrative officer, according to her LinkedIn page.Tutt was a real estate market executive there.
David Voegele, the Oldham County judge executive, knew Tutt from the latter’s 11 years on the board of the Oldham-La Grange Development Authority, the Louisville Courier Journal reported. “He’s a very high-quality, well-thought-of individual,” said Voegele, who described Tutt’s death as “sickening.”
Neighbors of Sturgeon, whose house was surrounded by heavily armed officers Monday, said in interviews that they had not interacted with him much, but that little about him stood out.
Kera Allgeier, 39, lived next door to Sturgeon in a home owned by her father with her four children and her partner, Michael McCoy, a 45-year-old brick mason. Allgeier, who works at Ford Motor, said she didn’t see Sturgeon much because they had different work schedules. She said he and his roommate had invited them to summer parties where attendees played beer pong in the backyard, though she never attended.
“Never once would I have thought any of this,” Allgeier said. “He didn’t strike us like that.”
Sturgeon was quiet, said Allgeier, who said she heard him say little more than hello and goodbye. There were no signs of guns or “anything inappropriate,” she said. Her partner, McCoy, said he briefly interacted with Sturgeon on Sunday, when he and Allgeier were feeding a cat in the street behind their house. Even so, Allgeier said, she found herself feeling numbed by the news.
“Nothing surprises you anymore,” she said, adding she had “a lot of friends” who had died, victims of the opioid epidemic. “In the world, it’s becoming the norm, and that’s sad.”
Another neighbor,Maryanne Denny, 58, worked with trauma surgeons Monday morning as shooting victims came into the University of Louisville hospital, where she is employed as a medical assistant in the outpatient office. Denny said she saw Sturgeon a few times going in and out of the house with a gym bag and they’d wave. She said she felt “in shock and disbelief” but, of Sturgeon, she added, “Who knows, nowadays, what goes through anyone’s mind?”
“I feel awful for his family and for his soul,” said Denny, “but I work at UofL and there were a lot of really horrible things that happened to people today.” She said the staff was locked down in the outpatient center during the shooting. “There’s a lot of people still in critical condition. Hopefully there’s not going to be any more fatalities,” Denny said.
Although it was not known how the gunman obtained his weapon or what specific rifle he used, the shooting prompted politicians including President Biden and some Democrats in Kentucky to call for stricter gun laws. But even they seemed to have little confidence that those changes would happen in the state legislature, where Republicans hold a supermajority.
Last month, Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill making the state a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” prohibiting local authorities from enforcing federal firearm bans or regulations. Beshear neither signed nor vetoed the bill, which allowed it to become law. On Monday, he called for a focus on “friends and loved ones that are no longer with us” — in what seemed a deliberate attempt to sidestep the gun-control debate.
“Thoughts and prayers for those we lost, those who are injured, and their loved ones and families are appreciated,” Democratic Rep. Morgan McGarvey, whose district includes Louisville, said on Twitter, “but today serves as a stark reminder that we need to address gun violence at the national level so no other family loses a son, a daughter, and a loved one.”
Biden urged Republicans in Congress “to protect our communities” with background checks and other measures.
“A strong majority of Americans want lawmakers to act on common sense gun safety reforms,” Biden said in a statement. “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.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.) expressed condolences after the shooting but offered no policy suggestions.
“Elaine and I are devastated by the news coming out of Louisville this morning,” McConnell said, referring to his wife. “We send our prayers to the victims, their families, and the city of Louisville as we await more information.”
In an interview before the victims were identified, Yates, who represents Louisville, said members of the state legislature have been unwilling to consider stricter gun laws because many lack “the intestinal and testicular fortitude.” Yates, a gun owner, said he is not in favor of bans but wants to find ways to prevent mentally ill people from securing assault rifles.
Gun legislation is not a “Democratic-Republican issue,” he said, but “what’s best for our community.”
“We’re going to have to bury several of our citizens, including my friend,” Yates added. “I refuse to accept that this is the new normal.”
Javaid reported from Louisville, Brulliard from Boulder, Colo. Brittany Shammas, Marisa Iati, Justin Moyer, Ben Brasch, Nick Parker, Anumita Kaur and John Harden in Washington contributed to this report.