Two Louisville police officers have been shot amid chaotic protests over the lack of murder charges linked to the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor. One suspect has been taken into custody. The officers are expected to survive.
As groups of protesters squared off with police around Louisville on Wednesday night, multiple shots went off. Two officers were shot, Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Robert Schroeder has confirmed, noting that their injuries appear to be non-life-threatening.
Police received calls about shots fired near a local college around 8:30pm, the chief said, adding that “as they were deploying to investigate what was going on… shots rang out and two of our officers were shot.”
I’m very concerned about the safety of our officers.
One of the wounded officers is “alert” and “stable,” while the other is in surgery, but is also expected to survive. One suspect has been brought into custody, Schroeder added, though declined to identify the individual.
One of the officers was reportedly struck in the abdomen, below his bulletproof vest, while the other was shot in the thigh, according to a reporter with a Louisville Fox affiliate, Jason Riley, who cited anonymous sources.
Videos that circulated on social media captured the sound of the gunfire, as well as officers on the other end, who could be heard saying “officer down” over their radios as they rushed for cover.
Local media also shared footage showing an officer as he was loaded into an ambulance, surrounded by a sizable group of riot police.
A reporter on the scene claimed the shots were fired directly at the officers, rather than into the air, though he did not specify whether the shooter was affiliated with the ongoing protests.
Other footage appeared to show Louisville officers had exchanged their less-lethal weapons for real guns.
The local FBI office said it had deployed a SWAT team to respond to the shooting and that it would assist the police investigation, but also offered no other details about the officer or his condition.
As news of the shooting made the rounds, the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Wolf, denounced the violence against law enforcement, saying it “is NEVER acceptable in a civil society,” and that he is now “praying for the well being” of the injured officers.
Arson, smashed windows & ransacked cafes as anger spills into streets
The protests in Louisville erupted earlier on Wednesday after the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor were not charged for her death, with only one officer facing charges for “wanton endangerment” linked to his indiscriminate firing into apartments adjacent to Taylor’s home. The 26-year-old medical technician was killed during a March police raid as plainclothes narcotics officers attempted to serve a search warrant at her apartment.
While the officers involved in the incident were fired, the lack of charges over Taylor’s death has stoked outrage around the country, prompting crowds of protesters to descend on Louisville on Wednesday afternoon. They were seen preparing for clashes with police, with footage showing activists distributing shields and other gear from the back of a U-Haul truck.
Ahead of the city’s 9pm curfew, demonstrators were filmed as they set fires and smashed windows around Jefferson Square park and elsewhere in downtown Louisville.
Police responded to the disturbance around the park just before the curfew went into effect. A large group of officers clad in riot gear marched into the area, where they fired concussion grenades and tear gas to clear out the protesters.
While the unrest has died down in some areas, protests continue sporadically in the city, where some 500 National Guard troops have also been activated. The soldiers were seen deployed in various locations, including around the hospital where the injured officers are believed to have been taken for treatment.