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Star golfer arrested, pedestrian struck and killed at PGA Championship in Louisville

People attendin PGA Championship in Louisville riding the shuttle to Valhalla Golf Club as news of Scottie Scheffler's arrest plays on TV.
Justin Hicks
People attending Day 2 of the PGA Championship in Louisville riding the shuttle to Valhalla Golf Club as news of Scottie Scheffler's arrest comes across the television.

The second day of the PGA Championship at Louisville’s Valhalla Golf Club began with a shuttle bus driver hitting and killing a pedestrian on Shelbyville Road in the early morning hours.

Golfing star Scottie Scheffler has been charged with felony assault of a police officer and three other misdemeanors, including criminal mischief and reckless driving.

According to Scheffler’s arrest report, Scheffler was driving along Shelbyville Road around 6:15 a.m. attempting to get through Gate 1 of the Valhalla Golf Club. Both lanes of traffic were closed because of a pedestrian death an hour earlier. As Scheffler tried to go around the closure, LMPD Detective Brian Gillis attempted to stop Scheffler and give him instructions.

“[Scheffler] refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging Detective Gillis to the ground,” the arrest report reads.

Gillis allegedly suffered “pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee,” and was transported to the hospital.

Police pulled Scheffler out of the vehicle and put him in handcuffs. Records show he was booked into the downtown Louisville jail at 7:28 a.m. He was deemed high risk and released on his own recognizance about an hour later at 8:40 a.m.

Scheffler has retained local defense attorney Steve Romines, who spoke briefly to reporters after the PGA pro walked out of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections.

“We’ll just let it all play out,” Romines said in response to questions about Scheffler’s experience.

In a follow up statement, however, Romines pushed back on the police narrative. He described the scene as “very chaotic.” Romines said that in the confusion, one of the officers directing traffic told him to move forward.

“Multiple eyewitnesses have confirmed that [Scheffler] did not do anything wrong but was simply proceeding as directed,” he said. “He stopped immediately upon being directed to and never at any point assaulted any officer with his vehicle.”

Romines also noted that Scheffler was driving “a marked player’s vehicle with credentials visible.”

By 9:15 a.m., ESPN was broadcasting live video of Scheffler getting out of a car in front of the golf club and heading to the locker room. The PGA pushed tee times back 80 minutes.

Scheffler released his own statement Friday morning calling the incident “a big misunderstanding.”

“I never intended to disregard any of the instructions,” Scheffler wrote. “I’m hopeful to put this to the side and focus on golf today.”

According to a LinkedIn profile, Officer Gillis investigates roadway collisions for LMPD. He also owns Advanced Collision Investigation Services and where he works as a collision reconstructionist for hire in personal injury cases.

LPM News reported earlier this week that LMPD was unable to fully provide security for the PGA Championship, as it had promised, because of an officer shortage. The city wired the PGA $140,000 in March to help the organization pay for off-duty officers.

By Friday afternoon, Louisville officials had also identified the man who was struck and killed by the shuttle bus driver in the early morning hours. The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office confirmed that 69-year-old John C. Mills of Crestwood was the victim.

A statement from Mayor Craig Greenberg called Mills, “a Louisvillian who will be greatly missed by his family and our community.”

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the PGA of America said Mills was a contractor for the tournament.

"This morning we were devastated to learn that a worker with one of our vendors was tragically struck and killed by a shuttle bus outside Valhalla Golf Club. This is heartbreaking to all of us involved with the PGA Championship. We extend our sincere condolences to their family and loved ones,” the statement reads.

A preliminary investigation by the LMPD Traffic Unit found the man was attempting to cross Shelbyville Road when a shuttle bus hit him. The driver was “traveling eastbound in the compulsory center lane dedicated for buses,” according to a police statement. Officials pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Greenberg said in a statement Friday afternoon that he had spoken with Mill’s family to offer the city’s condolences. He said LMPD would also continue investigating the incident that led to Scheffler’s arrest.

“LMPD is fully investigating this incident and the legal process will proceed. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation.” Greenberg said.

Shelbyville Road, where both incidents took place, is a major thoroughfare in Louisville, consisting of four traffic lanes and a center turn lane.

Like many other major cities across the country, Louisville has seen a big spike in serious injuries and deaths on roads since 2020. The city has seen 34 roadway fatalities and 120 collisions involving serious injury so far this year, according to Vision Zero Louisville’s crash dashboard.

Jacob Munoz and Joe Sonka contributed to this report. 

This story has been updated with additional information.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.

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