Emergency calls depict chaos during Louisville bank shooting

Audio release came hours before hundreds of people gathered at the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville to remember the victims.

Frantic calls from witnesses reporting a mass shooting at a Louisville bank were released by US police – including from the shooter’s mother who told a 911 operator her son “currently has a gun”.

Between shaky breaths, she told the operator she heard from her son’s roommate he left a note indicating he had a gun and was heading towards the bank.

“I need your help. He’s never hurt anyone, he’s a good kid,” said the woman.

It turned out that at the time of her call, the gunman was already at the bank on Monday. The emergency dispatcher informed the woman other calls were coming in about the shooting.

There have been 146 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2023, the most at this point in the year since 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit group defines a mass shooting as four or more people shot or killed, not including the shooter.

‘Situation going on’

The first call that came in was from a woman who was on a video call inside the bank. She screams and cries throughout the four-minute call and says there is an active shooter at the downtown branch of the bank.

“I just watched it on a Teams meeting,” she says. “We were having a board meeting … We heard multiple shots and everybody started saying, ‘Oh my God’ and then he came into the board room.”

Bank employee Connor Sturgeon, 25, used an AR-15 assault-style rifle in the attack at Old National Bank, where he killed five coworkers while live-streaming before police fatally shot him.

Eight others were wounded including a police officer who was shot in the head and remains hospitalised in a critical condition.

The woman identifying herself as Sturgeon’s mother asks during the call if she can go to the bank but is told by the dispatcher she should not because “there’s a situation going on down there” and “it’s dangerous”.

“You’ve had calls from other people, so he’s already there?” the mother asks with shock in her voice.

‘Please do something’

The audio release came hours before hundreds of people gathered at the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville on Wednesday to remember the victims.

Speakers at the vigil called for action from the deeply divided US government to end the country’s crisis of gun violence.

Dr Muhammad Babar, a physician at the University of Louisville hospital that treated victims including wounded police officer Nickolas Wilt, begged listeners and politicians to come together to address the problem.

“It does not matter whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, whether you live in urban spaces or rural communities, whether you own a gun or not,” he shouted in a voice choked with emotion. “Please do something.”

Sturgeon’s parents said in a statement their son had mental health challenges that were being addressed, but “there were never any warning signs or indications he was capable of this shocking act”.

They said they are mourning for the victims and the loss of their son, and working with police to understand what happened.

The shooting comes just two weeks after a former student killed three children and three adults at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, 160 miles (260km) south of Louisville.

Source: News Agencies