LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The bank employee who opened fire at his Louisville workplace targeted people he knew with a rifle that was bought legally a week earlier, police said Tuesday.
Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said at a news conference that bank employee Connor Sturgeon, 25, bought the AR-15 assault-style rifle on April 4 at a local dealership.
Armed with the rifle, Sturgeon killed five people — including a close friend of Kentucky’s governor — while livestreaming the attack Monday before he was killed by police, authorities said. Another eight people were wounded.
“We do know this was targeted. He knew those individuals, of course, because he worked there,” Gwinn-Villaroel said, but didn’t give an indication of a motive behind the shooting.
Officers’ body camera video will be released Tuesday afternoon, the chief said.
Gwinn-Villaroel praised the “heroic actions” of officers who engaged the shooter without hesitation when they arrived.
“They went towards danger in order to save and preserve life,” she said. “They stopped the threat so other lives could be saved. No hesitation, and they did what they were called do to.”
Officer Nickolas Wilt, who had graduated from training just 10 days earlier, was still in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being shot in the head, according to University of Louisville Hospital Chief Medical Officer Jason Smith.
Two of the four wounded still in the hospital had injuries that were not life-threatening, Smith said.
The shooting, the 15th mass killing in the country this year, comes just two weeks after a former student killed three children and three adults at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, about 160 miles (260 kilometers) to the south. That state’s governor and his wife also had friends killed in that shooting.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he lost one of his closest friends in the shooting.
“Tommy Elliott helped me build my law career, helped me become governor, gave me advice on being a good dad,” said Beshear, his voice shaking with emotion. “He’s one of the people I talked to most in the world, and very rarely were we talking about my job. He was an incredible friend.”
Also killed in the shooting were Josh Barrick, Jim Tutt, Juliana Farmer and Deana Eckert, police said.
“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,” Old National Bank CEO Jim Ryan said in a statement.
Louisville Mayor Craig urged unity as the community processes its grief.
“We’re all feeling shaken by this, and scared and angry and a lot of other things too. It’s important that we come together as a community to process this tragedy in particular but not just this tragedy because the reality is that we have already lost 40 people to gun violence in Louisville this year,” Greenberg said.
An interfaith vigil will be held Wednesday evening and invited people to come to grieve and pray.
“This vigil will be to acknowledge the wounds, physical and emotional, that gun violence leaves behind,” he said.