Community mourns victims killed in downtown Louisville shooting
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - A community is mourning after five people were killed and nine were injured in a mass shooting at Old National Bank in downtown Louisville.
“Today is a tragic day in Louisville and for the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Governor Andy Beshear. “Acts of violence like this hurt. They tear at the fabric of who we are.”
Several churches hosted vigils for the victims and their families, as they all cope with Louisville becoming the setting for the latest mass shooting in America.
At Holy Trinity Catholic Church, friends and family are grieving a personal loss. Josh Barrick, a father of two young children and one of the four killed, was a parishioner there.
Among the mourners was Whitney Austin—a survivor of a 2018 mass shooting in Cincinnati, who lives in Louisville.
“I was in a state of disbelief. Just not believing it was actually a mass shooting happening in my city. But then there were enough reports to know this was really happening, and my thoughts went toward the families,” said Austin.
Austin was shot 12 times in a shooting at Fifth Third Center in downtown Cincinnati. Since that day, she has dedicated her life to making a change with her organization Whitney Strong.
“We have areas of focus that include education, bipartisan lead legislation, as well as funding research,” said Austin.
Governor Beshear is mourning not just as the leader of Kentucky, but on a personal level. He says one of the victims, Tommy Elliott, was a close friend.
“Tommy Elliott helped me build my law career, helped me become governor, gave me advice on how to be a good dad,” said Gov. Beshear. “He’s one of the people I talk to most in the world, and very rarely were we talking about my job.”
While the community, families and friends begin to process these unimaginable losses, activists like Austin hope to see action.
“We can either be on the side of, ‘well, this is just what life is like in America,’ or we can be on the side of ‘we can come together. We can find solutions to prevent this,’” said Austin.
On Monday, Governor Beshear said the time will come for policy discussions, but right now, it’s about the victims and their families.
Of the nine injured, one is 26-year-old police officer Nickolas Wilt. He was just sworn in on March 31. He was shot in the head and has undergone brain surgery. Police say his actions today undoubtedly saved lives.
Old National Bank released a statement regarding the shooting:
“There are no words to adequately describe the sadness and devastation that our Old National family is experiencing as we grieve the tragic loss of our team members and pray for the recovery of all those who were injured,” said ONB CEO Jim Ryan.
Ryan and other members of the Old National Leadership team have been in Louisville much of the day offering support to affected individuals and their families, and they will continue to be on hand to provide support in the days ahead.
“Obviously, this is an incredibly difficult situation, and our entire focus is on making sure that everyone affected has the support and assistance they need,” Ryan said. “On behalf of everyone at Old National, I also want to acknowledge and thank Louisville law enforcement, the medical community and state and local officials for their incredible response to this tragedy. And finally, we ask you to please continue to pray for all those affected.”
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