Shooter in Louisville purchased AR-15 rifle legally: Police chief

Monday’s mass shooting in the US state of Kentucky was a ‘targeted’ attack against coworkers, says law enforcement.

Law enforcement officials in the United States have revealed that a shooter who killed five people in Louisville, Kentucky, targeted coworkers with a firearm he purchased legally in the week prior to the attack.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Louisville Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said that the shooter, identified as 23-year-old Connor Sturgeon, purchased an AR-15 rifle at a local dealership on April 4. He later livestreamed the attack.

“We have learned that the suspect in this incident was a current employee with Old National Bank,” said Gwinn-Villaroel, referring to the site of the shooting. She added: “We do know this was targeted. He knew those individuals, of course, because he worked there.”

The police chief also explained that her officers had used a search warrant to recover evidence from Sturgeon’s residence for their ongoing investigation into the shooting. Body camera footage would be released later on Tuesday, she said.

Monday’s attack was the latest instance of a deadly mass shooting in the US, where gun violence has become a grim and persistent reality.

According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, there have been 147 mass shootings so far in 2023, identified as instances where four or more people were shot and killed, not including the attacker.

Those killed in Monday’s attack have been identified as Joshua Barrick, 40; Deana Eckert, 57; Thomas Elliot, 63; Juliana Farmer, 45; and James Tutt, 64. Nine people were also injured, including two police officers responding to the shooting.

A doctor from the University of Louisville said that four patients remain in the hospital, including two in the intensive care unit (ICU). One police officer remained in “critical condition”, but the other patient in the ICU is now said to be in “stable condition”.

During Tuesday’s press conference, authorities urged people to donate blood to assist local hospitals.

“We have provided more than 170 units of blood products to the hospital to treat those that have been affected by this,” Steve Cunanan, CEO of the regional branch of the Red Cross, told reporters.

Local authorities stated that the community would hold vigils to bring people together to grieve and remember the lives lost. They also connected the Louisville shooting to a wider epidemic of gun violence across the country.

“Our community is hurting. But we need policies in place that will keep this from happening again,” US Representative Morgan McGarvey said at Tuesday’s press conference.

He pointed to the fact that the shooter expressed suicidal thoughts in the lead-up to the attack: “We don’t have the tools on the books to deal with someone who is an imminent danger to themselves or to others.”

At the press conference, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg noted that 40 people in the city had been shot to death since the beginning of the year. He too had survived a workplace shooting the previous year, he explained.

“This isn’t about partisan politics. This is about life and death. This is about preventing tragedies,” he said.

“You may think this will never happen to you, will never happen to any of your friends or loved ones. I used to think that. The sad truth is that now no one in our city, no one in our state, no one in our country, has that luxury anymore.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies