Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear was in tears as he revealed he has lost two “close friends” in a shooting at the Old National Bank in Louisville today – and a third is in hospital.
Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) were called at around 8.30am this morning to reports of shots fired at the Old National Bank.
When emergency services arrives on the scene, they “encountered active gunshots still being fired inside the location”, according to Deputy Police Chief Col. Paul Humphrey.
A witness inside the building told WHAS11 they saw a man with a “long assault rifle” fire multiple shots inside the bank on the first floor.
The eyewitness said: “He just started firing. I didn’t see his face. We were in the conference room. Whoever was next to me got shot, there’s blood on me.”
In a press conference this afternoon, Governor Beshear gave an emotional speech, saying: “This is awful.
“I have a very close friend that didn’t make it today. And I have another close friend who didn’t either. And one who’s at the hospital that I hope is going to make it through.”
President Joe Biden paid tribute to the victims as he once again called for gun reform.
He tweeted: “Once again, our nation mourns after a senseless act of gun violence – Jill and I pray for the lives lost and impacted by today’s shooting.Too many Americans are paying for the price of inaction with their lives.When will Republicans in Congress act to protect our communities?”
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, has taken to Twitter to comment on the shooting, calling it a “tragedy”.
She said: “The tragedy in Lousville, Kentucky, is the 15th mass shooting in the first 10 days of April. Our hearts break for all affected.
“Too many families are grieving loss – but we are not helpless. We can act; we must act to End Gun Violence.”
Five people, including the gunman, are dead as a result of the shooting. Police exchanged fire with the “lone” gunman on arrival, but it is unclear whether the fatal bullet came from an officer’s gun, or the shooter’s gun.
It is believed nine people are in hospital, with two in a critical condition – one of those being a police officer.
Governor Beshear went on to say: “And so I hope that all the brave officers that stepped into the line of fire that are worried about one of their fellow officers will reach out for help when they need it. I hope that every one of those bank employees and folks in that building – one that I know well, my AG campaign was out of that building, and [I know] virtually everyone in it. That’s my bank.
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“I hope that they will all reach out and get the help they need. There are a lot of people who are hurting today, and if we have a place to focus our energy, I hope that it is to surround them with the love and the compassion that we have been so good at showing one another.
“I want people to know that while today is a horrific act, I do believe that this is a safe community with officers doing their very best each and every day, and that’s what we saw here.”
The “lone gunman” is believed to have a previous connection to the bank. “We’re trying to establish what the connection was to the business but it appears he was a previous employee,” Deputy Humphrey said.
abc News Live)
Addressing the media, Deputy Humphrey said: “Shortly after [receiving the call], officers arrived on scene, with Louisville Metro Fire and EMS where they encountered active gunshots still being fired inside the location at that time.
“The shooter was confirmed to be dead on the scene, we do not know exactly the circumstances of his death at this time. Five people have been confirmed to have been killed inside, at least six were transported to University of Louisville Hospital, including one officer, with various injuries. We are unable to confirm the status of those who have been transported at this time.”
Sources have said armed police had to force their way into the bank, and that workers inside had taken shelter inside a vault.
So far in 2023 there have been at least 146 mass shootings – just 100 days into the year (April 10). This latest shooting comes just two weeks after a gunman opened fire in a Nashville Christian school, killing six.