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Tyler Gerth's Father Remembers His Son At Vigil In Jefferson Square Park

Tyler Gerth, 27, is remembered as a believer in racial justice, and a loving kind-hearted person. Gerth was shot and killed in Jefferson Square Park on Saturday.
Courtesy of the Gerth Family
Tyler Gerth, 27, is remembered as a believer in racial justice, and a loving kind-hearted person. Gerth was shot and killed in Jefferson Square Park on Saturday.

More than a hundred people held a vigil in Jefferson Square Park Sunday night for Tyler Gerth – a 27-year-old photographer who wasshot and killed Saturday night. Police say Gerth was struck by a bullet when a man opened fire in the park during a protest over the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

On Sunday evening during the vigil, many lit candles, some burned sage. Others placed flowers on the ground where Gerth died.

Gerth's father, Chuck Gerth addressed the crowd.

"He had good friends of all colors," Chuck Gerth said. "He supported the cause, he saw the injustices with Breonna, and so many injustices throughout the world."

Gerth’s family said he had been at the park because of a belief in racial justice and a desire to photograph an important moment in history. Chuck Gerth said his son was driven to speak out against injustice, even as a young child.

"He’s always been like that," he told WFPL News. "If he ever saw wrongs in our society, he wasn’t on the sidelines, he was in there and involved."

Chuck Gerth said he had a lot of reasons to be proud of his son -- a talented photographer and graduate of Trinity High School and the University of Kentucky. But Sunday was the proudest he’d ever felt.

"Reflecting on all the ways, just the way he turned out as a person, I’m really proud," Gerth said. "He had a lot of accomplishments, graduated from UK and Trinity. But just the way he turned out as a man, he was a very loving, caring person."

Police say the suspect in Tyler Gerth’s death is 24-year-old Steven Nelson Lopez of Louisville. He has been charged with murder and wanton endangerment in the Saturday night shooting.

Below is a statement from the Gerth family:
Tyler Gerth (27), was a beloved son, cherished brother, adored uncle to seven nieces and nephews and a trusted friend. We are devastated that his life was taken was from us far too soon. Tyler was incredibly kind, tender hearted and generous, holding deep convictions and faith. It was this sense of justice that drove Tyler to be part of the peaceful demonstrations advocating for the destruction of the systemic racism within our society’s systems. This, combined with his passion of photography led to a strong need within him to be there, documenting the movement, capturing and communicating the messages of peace and justice. While we cannot fathom this life without our happy, inquisitive, hardworking, funny, precious Tyler, we pray that his death would be a turning point and catalyst for peace in the city he loved so much. We ask for your prayers and that the Lord would draw close in our sorrow, but we also ask that his death is not just another statistic of senseless violence. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only light can do that.”

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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