A man has died in Louisville after being shot at by police and Kentucky National Guard forces, according to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.
In a statement early Monday, Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad confirmed that a man had been shot and killed just after midnight, but did not say whether or not the individual had died as a result of shots fired by law enforcement. Conrad linked the shootout to the protests in the city.
On Monday afternoon, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer identified the man who died as David McAtee, saying that he spoke to the man’s mother, who he called Miss Odessa, and “was so moved that I went to be with her for a moment to mourn and grieve.” He did not offer details on how McAtee was killed.
“I had spoken earlier today with Breonna Taylor’s mother, who was on her way to Frankfort, to share in Gov. Beshear’s call for people to be peaceful in their protests,” Fischer said. “I am incredibly humbled and heartened by the grace of these two mothers, who even in the darkness of their pain are reaching out to protect our city and our people.”
Protests have gripped Louisville in response to the death of Taylor, 26, a black EMT killed by police during a botched no-knock raid on her apartment on March 13. The demonstrations have intensified further since the death of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old black man killed by police in Minneapolis last month, sparking unrest across the nation.
Beshear wrote in a statement that law enforcement was called to deal with a gathering of people around midnight Sunday. “While working to disperse a crowd, LMPD and the Kentucky National Guard were fired upon,” Beshear wrote. “LMPD and the Kentucky National Guard returned fire resulting in a death.” The governor added that the incident will now be independently investigated by state police.
Earlier, Chief Conrad confirmed that his officers and the National Guard were called to a parking lot to clear what he described as a large crowd. Conrad said the officers faced gunfire on arrival, which caused them to shoot back toward the crowd.
“It has been a very difficult four days for our city—our officers are working very hard to keep people safe and protect property while doing that we’ve had officers shot at and assaulted,” said Conrad. “It’s very clear that many people do not trust the police. That is an issue we’re going to work on and work through for a long time. Tonight’s protests once again turned from peaceful to destructive.”
Conrad went on to say: “Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at. Both the LMPD and National Guards members returned fire. We have one man dead at the scene.”
Conrad said several people of interest are being interviewed.