LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Body camera video from the first two police officers who responded to the mass shooting at a Louisville bank shows them getting fired at right away in “an ambush” by the gunman who killed five people Monday.
The footage, released Tuesday afternoon, also shows tense moments as officers Corey Galloway and Nickolas Wilt — both of whom were wounded — try to ascertain the attacker’s position as they take gunfire from an AK-15 rifle.
Wilt, still in training less than two weeks after graduating from the police academy, was shot in the head and is hospitalized in critical condition after surgery. Other officers who arrived and tried to rescue him came under the gunman’s barrage too.
Louisville Metro Police Department Deputy Chief Paul Humphrey media members walked through edited footage and still photos of the attack. One still image from surveillance video showed the shooter, a bank employee identified as Connor Sturgeon, holding a rifle inside the building, surrounded by broken glass.
After shooting his co-workers, “he then went to the front lobby and set up an ambush and waited for officers to respond,” Humphrey said. ” … As soon as he saw them, he shot at them.”
Humphrey said the officers couldn’t see the gunman behind glass in the lobby, which was dark. But Sturgeon broke the glass when firing at the officers who came to Wilt’s aid, giving Galloway a view of his location.
“Once he is able to see the threat, he then engages the threat, shoots and kills the suspect,” Humphrey said.
SHOOTING WAS LIVESTREAMED:‘An evil act’: Louisville gunman was bank employee. Updates
►911 tapes are expected to be released later Tuesday. CNN, citing a city official, said Instagram footage shows the rampage lasting about a minute before the shooter sat down in the lobby area and appeared to wait for police.
►At least 170 units of blood from the American Red Cross have been used to treat victims of the Old National Bank shooting, medical officials said Tuesday. Greenberg called for members of the Louisville community to donate blood.
►Greenberg said a vigil would be held Wednesday at 5 pm
THE KILLERS:Who is the Louisville shooter who killed 5 people at the bank? What do we know about suspect, motive.
Gunman bought AR-15 legally a week ago, targeted victims
The gunman in a shooting rampage at a bank purchased an AR-15 rifle legally a week ago and used it to “target” his victims, the Louisville police chief said Tuesday.
Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel confirmed the shooter was a bank employee who on April 4 bought at a local gun dealer the weapon used in Monday’s attack, which left five people dead. The victims were all bank employees, Gwinn-Villaroel said.
Major Craig Greenberg said he could not confirm reports that the shooter had been fired from his job. However, US Rep. Morgan McGarvey, who spoke at a new conference Tuesday with city officials, said the gunman left a note behind and told at least one person he was suicidal.
Video from the body cameras of officers who responded to the scene will be released later Tuesday, Gwinn-Villaroel said.
Greenberg urged federal and state lawmakers to give Louisville the “autonomy to deal with our unique gun violence,” which he described as an epidemic. Current laws “are enabling violence and murder,” Greenberg said.
“The reality is that we have already lost 40 people to gun violence in Louisville this year, including another young man yesterday, just a few blocks away,” Greenberg said. “That level of gun violence is beyond horrific.”
Plea for action from the doctor weary of treating victims of gun violence
Weary and emotional, the chief medical officer at the University of Louisville Hospital pointed out the mass shooting that sent nine people to the facility Monday barely required any adjustments to the operating room schedule. That’s how frequent incidents of gun violence have become.
Joining city officials at a Tuesday news briefing, Dr. Jason Smith made a plea for action that might help prevent or at least reduce the carnage his staff sees on a regular basis.
“To everyone who helps make policies, state, city, federal, I would simply ask you to do something, because doing nothing, which is what we’ve been doing, is not working,” Smith said. “We have to do something, because this is just getting out of hand across our city and across this great nation of ours.”
Smith, who has been at the hospital for more than 15 years, lauded his co-workers but said constantly treating “these horrific injuries” takes an emotional toll sooner or later.
“There’s only so many times you can walk into a room and tell someone, ‘They’re not coming home tomorrow,’” he said. “It just breaks your heart when you hear someone screaming, ‘Mommy’ or ‘Daddy.’ It just becomes too hard, day in and day out, to be able to do that.”
Officers laud for heroism
Smith said rookie officer Wilt remained sedated in critical but stable condition Tuesday morning. Wilt, who was shot in the head, graduated from the police academy March 31. Gwinn-Villaroel lauded the actions of Wilt, his training officer and other officers on the scene.
“Just truly proud of the heroic actions of those two officers and everybody else that respondent,” Gwinn-Villaroel said. “They went forward in order to save and preserve life.”
How the shooting unfolded
The tragedy began Monday morning when an employee opened fire inside a conference room during a morning staff meeting, a manager at the bank said. Rebecca Buchheit-Sims told CNN she was attending the meeting virtually on Monday and watched in horror as the shooting played out “very quickly” on her computer screen.
“I witnessed people being murdered,” she said. “I don’t know how else to say that.”
Officers received reports of shots fired at the Old National Bank at 8:38 am, and within three minutes of being dispatched they arrived and exchanged gunfire with the attacker, who died at the scene, Gwinn-Villaroel said. Eight people, including two police officers, were wounded in the attack.
Gunman was a bank employee
Gwinn-Villaroel said Sturgeon, 25, was an employee of the bank and was livestreaming while shooting. A SWAT team entered his house Monday afternoon in the Camp Taylor neighborhood in southern Louisville, and police canvassed the neighborhood seeking doorbell camera footage.
According to his LinkedIn profile taken down after the shooting, Sturgeon was a summer intern at the bank starting in 2018 and graduated from the University of Alabama, where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees by the end of 2020.
Sturgeon lived in Louisville but grew up in Indiana. He graduated from Floyd Central High School, where he played basketball. His father, Todd Sturgeon, was head basketball coach at the high school.
– Olivia Krauth, Louisville Courier Journal
Louisville mourns again
The city’s downtown was the scene of protests in 2020, after police officers shot and killed Breonna Taylor, helping fuel the national outcry over the deaths of Black Americans at the hands of police. In Louisville, a city of about 633,000 that is home to close-knit communities, Monday’s shooting once again sparked grief, anger and shock. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who was born in the city, choked back in tears as he talked about losing a close friend in the bank carnage.
Barbara Hedspeth, a clinical social worker who attended a vigil for the victims Monday night, said the city’s connectedness seemed to amplify the pain.
“In Louisville, you’re one degree (of separation) away from anybody else,” Hedspeth said. Read more here.
– Chris Kenning
Chaos on the street: ‘You’d have thought Godzilla was coming’
Jon High was driving to Against the Grain, a downtown Louisville brewery across the street from the bank, at about 8:50 am Monday. He encountered a crowd running toward him and away from the Old National Bank complex.
“You would’ve thought Godzilla was coming down the street,” High said outside the taproom hours later as Beshear spoke at a press conference inside. “I felt like I was in the middle of something and just didn’t know what, so that was very scary.”
Kris King handles marketing for Against the Grain and was heading into work when he was stopped by someone near the business. “I said, ‘I work here, I’m going to a meeting here. Can I just make a right turn?’ And he was like, ‘Well, you can, but there’s an active shooter with an AR-15,'” King said. Read more here.
Names, stories of shooting victims emerge
All five people killed in the assault were bank employees. Thomas Elliott was a senior vice president of commercial real estate and a friend of Beshear. Juliana Farmer was a loan analyst, and Deana Eckert – who died Monday night at a hospital – was an executive administrator who had worked in banking in Kentucky for 31 years. James Tutt, the commercial real estate market executive for the southern region at the bank, started with the company in January 2015. Josh Barrick was the bank’s senior vice president of commercial real estate for less than a year.
“Our hearts are heavy, they are broken, and we are searching for answers,” Barrick’s pastor, the Rev. Shayne Duvall, wrote on Facebook.
Learn more about the victims here.
– Keisha Rowe and Donovan Slack, USA TODAY NETWORK
‘HIGH QUALITY PERSONS’:Governor’s friend among those community mourns after Louisville bank shooting victims
Mass shootings ‘becoming more frequent’
The nonprofit Gun Violence Archive tracks all mass shootings, defined as a shooting in which at least four victims are hit by gunfire. There have been 146 mass shootings this year – up 10% over the previous record year of 2021, said Mark Bryant, executive director.
One hundred days into 2023, there have been 15 mass killings – shootings in which four or more people were killed, not including the shooter – in the US, according to a USA TODAY/Associated Press/Northeastern University database tracking the killings. Only two times since 2006 has the US witnessed more than 15 mass killings by April 10, according to the database.
“This is consistent with the overall trend that mass shootings are becoming more frequent,” said James Densley, co-founder of the Violence Project, a nonprofit research center. Read more here.
– Grace Hauck
Contributing: The Associated Press