Apr 11, 2023

Louisville Shooting Full Press Conference Transcript

Louisville Shooting Full Press Conference Transcript
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Louisville Shooting Full Press Conference. Read the transcript here.

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Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (00:10):

Good afternoon. Today, unfortunately is a sad day within our city.

At 8:38 there’s a report of shots fired at Old National Bank. Officers were on scene within three minutes. The suspect shot at officers. We then returned fire and stopped that threat. The suspect is deceased.

This is the only time that I will mention the suspect name in this case. The suspect has been identified as Connor Sturgeon: white male, 23 years of age, who was employed at Old National Bank. His weapon of choice was a rifle.

We have five total deceased – which includes him – but I want to acknowledge with heartfelt condolences, prayers to the family or those who lost their life today. Tommy Elliot, 63 years of age; Jim Tutt, 64 years of age; Josh Barrick, 40 years of age; and Juliana Farmer, 57.

We have a total of nine victims who were treated and are being treated at University of Louisville Hospital, three, which are in critical condition, including our officer; three who are listed in non-critical condition; and three who have been treated and released.

The two officers who struck in exchange of gunfire, one of the officers, he was grazed to the left side, and the other officer suffered minor injuries to the elbow.

I just want to let everyone know that the officer who is in critical condition today, Officer Nicholas Wilt, 26 years of age, just graduated from the police academy on March 31st. I just swore him in and his family was there to witness his journey to become a police officer.

He was struck in the head engaged in this incident. Nick has come out of brain surgery and is in critical but stable condition as we speak. I’ve been down there with the family and given my love and support, been with all the families today to show our love and support for them and if anything else that they need from LMPD, we will provide that.

The next few days are and very critical for Nicholas’s recovery. This will be a long, complex investigation involving local, state and our federal partners.

I’ll be remiss if I did not acknowledge our federal partners who have just been just outstanding. Our local partners, ATF, FBI, I thank you. Our local partners, University of Louisville Police, EMS, Emergency Management Services. Thank you. Thank you for everything. And for my LMPD officers who took it upon themselves and not wait to assess everything but just went in to stop the threat so that more lives would not be lost – thank you.

Thank you for showing up, even when sometimes you are just felt like you’re not appreciated, but I ask my officers when I addressed them today, “If we don’t do it, who will?” And so they’re very committed and their resiliency showed today and their professionalism showed today.

I want to thank the governor. I want to thank the mayor who has been with us every step of the way through this trying and critical time. But I want to encourage the public, if you have any additional information, please call 574-LMPD and assist us.

This should not continue to happen. Evil should not try to prevail and take over our city and we let it happen. So I’m encouraging everybody that we unite and that we continue to do the good work and LMPD will continue to keep this community and this city safe.

Mayor Craig Greenberg (04:50):

Thank you very much, Chief.

Today is a day that’s heartbreaking for our city, for all of us, and especially for the people who were in that office at Old National Bank and their loved ones.

We just heard the chief give the names of the people who lost their lives in this mass shooting this morning. One of them was Tommy Elliot, a very good friend of mine, of the governors. To Tommy’s family, to the families of Jim Tutt, Josh Barrick, Juliana Farmer, Rachel and I join you and families across our entire city and beyond in grieving this shocking and painful loss of your lives.

The chief, the governor, myself, we visited in the hospital this morning with several of their families to offer them our support and our love during this unthinkable day. We will continue to offer our support and love and anything else we can provide to help them.

We were also there along with several of my colleagues from Metro Council to thank and support the officers of LMPD for their heroic work today and every day, and say thank you to the new graduating class who was there to support their colleague, Officer Wilt, as he continues to fight for his life.

Let’s be clear about what this was: This was an evil act of targeted violence. And to add to that tragedy, a few blocks away – shortly after this happened – another man lost his life and a woman was shot in a completely different act of targeted violence. The two incidents appear to be entirely unrelated, but they both took lives. They both leave people scarred, grieving, and angry.

I share all of those feelings myself right now. This is really difficult for all of us across the entire city to process and accept. I ask that we respect the needs of the families and loved ones of the people whose lives were lost today and the people whose lives will never be the same.

I’m a survivor of a workplace shooting. To the people who survived, whether you are physically hurt or not, I know that you’re hurting too. We are here for you as well.

To the survivors and the families, our entire city is here to wrap our arms around you. We’ve set up a family assistance center through the Red Cross to provide support and services to those families today and in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead that we know will be challenging, to provide you with whatever you need to deal with the trauma of this moment. The same applies to our police officers and first responders. Our city is here for everyone impacted. We are a strong city and we will be here for support.

As the chief mentioned, our LMPD officers went into that building knowing that they were risking their lives to save other lives, and that’s exactly what they did. They exchanged gunfire with the shooter.

To Officer Wilt and his family, we’ll continue to pray and support you. To the other two LMPD officers who were injured, thank you and all of your colleagues for your service today and every day.

I also want to thank all of our other first responders, fire, EMS, Jefferson County Sheriff, state and federal agencies that are helping us at this time. And to Dr. Smith, to you and all of the other doctors and nurses and team, at U of L Health for your work today and every day, you too are saving lives in our city and we thank you.

For the rest of us in our city, let’s hold each other close and provide comfort where we can. That’s what we’ve done in the past and that’s what we must continue to do now. We’ve already received offers of assistance from people across this city and country. Thank you.

By the end of the day, we’ll be providing specific information on how to provide donations to those impacted today if you would like. We will also have more information by the end of the day about a community-wide vigil for the targeted acts of violence that happened today and any day in our city.

We’ll continue to move forward with strength, prayer, with love, support, and determination. Thank you all. Now I’m going to turn it over to Governor Andy Beshear. Governor.

Governor Andy Beshear (10:57):

Today is a tragic day in Louisville and for the entire commonwealth of Kentucky. Acts of violence like this hurt. They tear at the fabric of who we are at our society, at our state, at our country, and the city.

Today, I’m hurt and I’m hurting, and I know so many people out there are as well. We lost four children of God today, one of whom was one of my closest friends.

Tommy Elliot helped me build my law career, helped me become governor, gave me advice on being a good dad. He’s one of the people I talk to most in the world and very rarely were we talking about my job. He was an incredible friend.

We also lost Juliana Farmer, Jim Tutt, Josh Barrick, each amazing people whose families grieve them, whose community will mourn and will miss them. These are irreplaceable, amazing individuals that a terrible act of violence tore from all of us.

We also pray for our LMPD officer and two others that right now, while perhaps stable, are still fighting for their lives with a need for our care and yes, for our prayers because I believe. I believe. And I believe that prayers slipped all of us up and those families would appreciate them.

And while I hurt today and while I will grieve when I’m able, I’m also grateful. I’m grateful for an incredibly quick response from LMPD, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Louisville Fire and Rescue, Louisville Metro EMS. Getting to this scene in three minutes I’m convinced saved other people’s lives and I know save two other of my friends.

One, I received incorrect information this morning, I thought was gone and I’d started to mourn and now I know he’s okay. And what I got to see in the ER, that while it’s going to take him a while to heal, it was so good to see my friend, see him there with his wife and know he is still with us.

I want to thank KSP, ATF, FBI, every single law enforcement agency that is going to bring their entire weight and their entire resources to bear so that we know exactly what happened in this situation. And there are more first responders than the ones we’ve listed because the team at U of L Hospital are first responders too.

The first battle was stopping that gunman. The second is doing everything we can to keep those that have been wounded alive. And I want to say to this good doctor behind me, and we have worked together through pandemics and now this, that I’m really proud of what his team is doing.

I was in a room where one of those families, that are rightfully worried, got an update. And it was one that was specific but also provided with compassion. These doctors and nurses are fighting for the lives of our friends, of our family and we are deeply grateful to them.

I think what we need most right now in a word is love. Just love. Love for these families. They’re going to need us. I can tell you, I’ve talked to them. I’m very close with one of them. They are going to need that love and we need love for each other.

It seems like we argue so much in this country – so much anger – I still believe that love and compassion and humanity can lead us to a better place. Now this is hard. It’s really hard the day after Easter.

Now Easter is about a rebirth, a better world, one where we’re all supposed to work together to get there; one that’s supposed to teach us love from a savior that came. The world fell in love with him not because of his power but for his compassion. And I believe what we can do, whether it’s any faith or just your values, is ensure that today, more than anything, is about these families.

It’s about those families that are afraid they’re going to lose their loved one, about those that have been through the worst and while may have survived are going to bear the scars inside and outside today. It’s got to be about them and the heroic actions of everybody who responded.

And yes, I know in the days to come we’ll talk about issues. But I think the thing that people get wrong after the most difficult of times and days and as governor I’ve had to see a lot of them, is that today ought to be focused on my friend, and on everybody else’s friends and loved ones that are no longer with us.

My faith teaches me that while the body is mortal, the soul is eternal. So I know that I will see Tommy again and I know that all of these families and friends in this community, we will be reunited in a better place without violence, without the senselessness and hurt that we feel today. We will get through this. We’ll get through this together. It’s the only way. And we’ll march forward. And my hope, is that in honor of those that have fallen today or that may still fall, we can be better and we can do better. We can care about love each other just a little bit more.

Today, to honor those that have fallen and as so many families grieve, I’m ordering our flags statewide fly half staff until Friday, Friday evening to make sure that we are paying tribute in every single part of this commonwealth to those that we have lost.

We are one commonwealth united with this city, united with these families. Well, we’ve had to do a lot in these last three years is wrap our arms around each other and we need to do it here. Thank you.

And next, we’re going to hear from Dr. Smith, who is leading an incredible team, trying to make sure as many of those that were harmed in this incident get through it. And let me just again say that he and his hospital have my full support and confidence. I’ve seen it firsthand. What they’re doing is nothing short of amazing.

And listen, I know they’re going to do their best. And while we don’t know what that outcome can be, we ought to be appreciative of them for doing their very best.

Dr. Jason Smith (18:09):

Well, thank you very much for that. As was reported this morning, University of Louisville Hospital received nine patients, three of which are currently in critical condition. The three that are in critical condition did require operative care from our trauma team and our emergency department services. We were able to release three and three are currently still in our hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

I want to say thank you to Louisville as a city. I want to say thank you to our police officers and our EMS services. I have no doubt in my mind that they saved lives today. I think they, as many in the healthcare industry have been through a difficult time recently, but they have stood up and stand up for Louisville and the people of Louisville constantly and they have our thanks from U of L Health.

I also want to thank my nurses in the emergency department, my physicians in the emergency department. Through all of this, they remained as the professionals that they are. They were able to care for a large number of people coming in, severely injured in a very short period of time. We were able to get them to the services they need. And as of now, no one that arrived at the hospital has expired.

Now I do not know what the days ahead will be. I do know that they are still injured, but I also know that we are all Louisvillians and it doesn’t matter where we come from, it does not matter who we look like, we are all part of Louisville. LMPD, EMS, U of L Health, we are here for everyone.

And so I would like to thank everyone who’s helped us today. I would like to thank all the well wishes I’ve received both personally and from our healthcare system from around the country, support for people who have been through this around the country and know the pain that my team is currently facing, know the pain that the LMPD and EMS teams are currently facing and will be with us. Because, as again, we are all Louisvillians.

I want to thank everyone again for what they do for us every day. We are a wonderful and integral part of this city, and I am proud to be part of U of L Health and I am proud to be part of U of L Hospital.

So with that, thank you and I’ll turn it over for questions.

Mayor Craig Greenberg (20:43):

Thank you very much Dr. Smith. We’re prepared to take a few questions from the media.

Speaker 5 (20:48):

Dr. Smith, obviously with brain surgery, do we know if Officer Wilt is awake?

Dr. Jason Smith (20:55):

I believe everyone who had had surgery today are still sedated. No one is currently awake. It’s still very early in this process for any of that information. Really the next 24 hours for all involved in this who required an operation are going to be the critical time period for us to understand really how well they’re going to recover from this acute part of their overall care.

They’ve got long roads ahead of them, but if we can get through a 24 hours, then we will take another 24 hours. And we will keep doing that until they get out the hospital.

Speaker 5 (21:25):

And you mentioned non-life threatening for those other victims. For the average person, does that mean gunshot wounds? Can that be considered non-life threatening in this case?

Dr. Jason Smith (21:35):

Yes. You can have gunshot wounds that are non-life threatening. Correct.

Speaker 5 (21:39):

And that is the case for these three?

Dr. Jason Smith (21:41):

We treated a total of five gunshot wounds today from this scene.

Speaker 6 (21:48):

For the police chief, what is that moment like to hear an officer was shot in their head and then ultimately to hear that for now he is stable, but to hear that it appears you may make it through this, what are your thoughts there?

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (22:05):

That is one of the worst moments within any police chiefs tenure being in this position, to hear that any of your officers have been injured in any kind of way, but critically injured. But it’s also too, it rubs me and it just rocks my world to have anybody being injured and losing their life.

And so I am just truly, I have so much respect for the families because they were still present and were very appreciative of what was done and how LMPD responded today. And they were actually embracing me as I was embracing them.

But let me say this, the evil that took place today, we shouldn’t hear the tears that were coming out from these families. And that right there sticks because they’re weeping because someone decided that they wanted to take life today.

But with that, I’m very grateful and hopeful and I’m thankful to the doctor for stabilizing so many that could have possibly lost their life.

Speaker 7 (23:16):

Chief, can tell us about the gun, what exactly type of gun was used and where the shooter died, if you know that at this point?

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (23:24):

I don’t know where the shooter got the weapon from, but I just can say that it was a rifle used, as I mentioned earlier.

Speaker 8 (23:32):

Can you tell us more about what happened inside the gun building prior to the shooting this morning?

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (23:36):

Repeat that again.

Speaker 8 (23:36):

Can you talk more about what happened inside the bank building prior to the shooting?

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (23:40):

Again, this is an ongoing investigation. And again, as like the governor has stated, we want to focus in on the families. We want to focus in right now what happened, and as this investigation continues to unfold, then we’ll be able to reveal a little bit more.

Speaker 9 (23:54):

[inaudible 00:23:55] on Instagram. Is that stuff going to be taken down and was he communicating on Instagram before this incident?

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (24:03):

I will state this that the suspect was live-streaming and unfortunately that’s tragic to know that that incident was out there and captured. And so we’re hopeful that we can have that incident removed, that footage.

Speaker 10 (24:18):

Chief, has the home of this shooter in this case been searched? Have you guys discovered anything, manifesto, things of that nature?

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (24:25):

Again, it’s still ongoing within this investigation. It’s still unfolding. And so I don’t want to get into any additional particulars at this time.

Speaker 11 (24:35):

Quick question. Upon the gunman being identified and you realized who he was, had he had any encounters with the police department in his past?

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (24:43):

From my understanding right now, preliminarily wise, that may change, but my understanding we have not had any prior engagement with this individual.

Speaker 11 (24:51):

And is he the citizen of Louisville?

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (24:53):

He worked at Old National Bank. And so I am assuming right now that he was the citizen of Louisville.

Speaker 7 (24:58):

And will there be a search warrant conducted on his home as of today?

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (25:02):

I don’t want get into the particulars on that investigation portion of it, but again, it’s ongoing. So I respect your question.

Speaker 12 (25:07):

Chief, was the suspect shot and killed by a police?

Speaker 13 (25:08):

Chief, were all the victims employees of the bank? Are you able to say a number victims were employees of the bank?

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (25:16):

Yes. Yes.

Speaker 13 (25:16):

Thank you.

Mayor Craig Greenberg (25:16):

And the officers.

Speaker 13 (25:17):

And the officers, okay. Thank you.

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (25:18):


Speaker 12 (25:22):

Chief, was the suspect shot and killed by police?

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (25:24):

Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

Speaker 14 (25:27):

Chief, were there guards inside the bank? Was there any security? How was this person able to walk inside that-

Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel (25:34):

I’m not familiar with any other additional security with that inside the location. But again, let’s focus back on this initial incident right here that we were respondent in a timely, quick fashion and we stop the threat so that no additional loss of life could be taken.

Mayor Craig Greenberg (25:53):

We will continue to provide updates as we have more information. This has been a very active day where we are, as the governor and chief said, we are using every resource available from local, state, and federal agencies to provide all of these answers to the entire community, to the loved ones who lost victims today. And so we are going to get back to work. We’ll continue to keep you all up to date as we have more information.

Thank you all very much.

Speaker 13 (26:16):

Will there be another update tonight? Do you all plan on getting us again tonight?

Mayor Craig Greenberg (26:22):

We will let you know when the next update’s going to be shortly.

Speaker 13 (26:24):

Okay. Thank you so much.

Mayor Craig Greenberg (26:25):

Thank you.

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