'Tough time for our city': Louisville to hold shooting vigil
An interfaith vigil is planned Wednesday evening in downtown Louisville to remember victims of a mass shooting at a bank, allowing the public to offer prayers for the injured and to begin work toward a more peaceful city, Mayor Craig Greenberg said.
The event at the Muhammad Ali Center is just a few blocks away from Old National Bank, where a gunman killed five and injured eight others on Monday.
“This is a very tough time for our city, and we were not meant to go through tough times alone,” Greenberg said in a statement.
On Tuesday, police released body camera video that showed the chaotic moments when officers arrived at the bank as the shooter, who they couldn't see, rained bullets down on them.
The videos, taken from two wounded officers' lapels, offer a rare perspective of police officers responding to a massacre. One, a rookie officer, was shot in the head within minutes of arriving at the scene. His partner was grazed by a bullet and sought cover while still trying to take down the shooter. Minutes after arriving, officers fatally shot the gunman.
Louisville Metro Police Department Deputy Chief Paul Humphrey walked reporters through edited footage and still photos at a news conference and praised the responding officers for their heroism.
The rookie officer, Nickolas Wilt, had graduated from the police academy just 10 days earlier and remained in critical but stable condition Wednesday morning, University of Louisville Hospital said in a statement. Two other victims remained hospitalized in fair condition.
Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel has said the 25-year-old bank employee bought the AR-15 assault-style rifle used in the attack at a local dealership on April 4.
Armed with the rifle, he killed his co-workers — including a close friend of Kentucky’s governor — while livestreaming the attack.
The shooter’s family said there were no words to describe their emotions over the “unthinkable harm” caused by their son, according to a statement reported by WHAS and other media. The family said they are praying for “everyone traumatized by his senseless acts” and thanked LMPD officers for their response.
The shooting is the 147th mass shooting in the country this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. It came just two weeks after a former student killed three children and three adults at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, about 160 miles south of Louisville.
The five bank employees killed in the Louisville shooting were Joshua Barrick, 40, a senior vice president; Deana Eckert, 57, an executive administrative officer; Tommy Elliott, 63, also a senior vice president; Juliana Farmer, 45, a loan analyst; and Jim Tutt Jr., 64, a commercial real estate market executive. Their friends and colleagues have shared memories of them in the days since the shooting.
Wednesday's vigil is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. local time. Local houses of worship will also host grief counselors Wednesday night to speak with residents seeking support.
“If you wish, we’re asking folks to gather together to share our strength, pray for those still fighting for their lives after Monday’s shooting, remember all those touched by gun violence across our entire city and, together, begin working toward a safer future where we are truly preventing gun violence instead of constantly reacting to it,” Greenberg, the mayor, said in his statement.
Greenberg and other Democrats are calling for policy changes that they say could stem gun violence.