LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A gunman opened fire at a bank in downtown Louisville on Monday, killing at least five people — including a close friend of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear — and injuring nine others, authorities said.
The gunman was identified as Connor Sturgeon, 25, who police said was an employee of Old National Bank on East Main Street, where the gunfire erupted at 8:38 a.m.
Parts of the attack were livestreamed, police said.
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Responding officers arrived in three minutes, exchanged gunfire with the gunman and killed him, interim Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel told reporters.
"The suspect shot at officers. We then returned fire and stopped that threat," she said. "The suspect is deceased."
Gwinn-Villaroel also confirmed that the shooter showed some of the deadly attack live on social media.
"The suspect was livestreaming, and unfortunately that's tragic to know that that incident was out there and captured," she said. "And so we're hopeful that we can have that incident removed."
Four victims were identified early Monday afternoon: Tommy Elliott, 63; Juliana Farmer, 45; Jim Tutt, 64; and Josh Barrick, 40.
And later Monday evening, police announced that Deana Eckert, 57, had died.
An emotional Beshear said he spoke regularly to Elliott and mourned his death.
“Today I’m hurting, and I know so many people are as well. We lost four children of God,” Beshear said.
“Tommy Elliott 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 talked to most in the world, and very rarely were we talking about my job. He was an incredible friend.”
Officer Nickolas Wilt, 26, was shot in the head, underwent surgery and was listed in critical condition, Gwinn-Villaroel said. Wilt had graduated from the police academy on March 31.
"I just swore him in, and his family was there to witness his journey to become a police officer," Gwinn-Villaroel said.
The gunman might have had mental health issues, according to a federal law enforcement source who has been briefed on the attack.
JD Worley, the CEO of a medical device company across the street from Old National Bank, saw two police officers wounded. One still managed to take cover and return fire, while the other appeared to be "motionless" and was carried away by other officers, Worley recounted.
The rapid gunfire blew out the floor-to-ceiling glass at the front of the bank, Worley said.
"I mean, it felt like watching an action movie in real life," Worley told "NBC Nightly News." "But this is just something you see on the news often, but never could have fathomed I would ever see something like this happen, not only in my hometown, but right in front of my eyes."
Nine people were taken to University of Louisville Hospital, three were listed in critical condition, and three were released, officials said.
The fast response of officers prevented more deaths and injuries, Louisville police said.
"It is clear from the officers' response that they absolutely saved peoples' lives," Deputy Chief Paul Humphrey said.
"This was a tragic event, but it was the heroic response of officers that made sure that no more people were more seriously injured than what happened."
Mayor Craig Greenberg also thanked officers for their lifesaving actions. Greenberg himself was nearly killed last year when a gunman entered his campaign office, opened fire and grazed his sweater.
"We come together as a community to work to prevent these horrific acts of gun violence from continuing here and around the state," Greenberg said. "We are a safer community, we are a stronger community thanks to the work of our law enforcement."
Police cars, ambulances and firetrucks flooded Main Street between North Floyd and North Preston streets, in the heart of Kentucky’s largest city.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the bank employed a security guard.
"The safety of Old National Bank employees and everyone we serve in our banking center locations is paramount," Old National Bank CEO Jim Ryan said in a statement.
Ryan called for "keeping everyone affected by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers."
The incident unfolded in the shadows of Slugger Field, home of the Cincinnati Reds Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats.
That team was out of town Monday, and police used the stadium as a base of operations, appearing to interview witnesses there.
And as police responded to Old National Bank, some officers had to peel off for another shooting just a mile away, at Jefferson Community and Technical College, officials said.
The two attacks were not connected, and classes at the school were canceled, officials said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and his wife, Elaine Chao, thanked police for their fast and brave work Monday.
"Elaine and I are devastated by the news coming out of Louisville this morning," McConnell said in a statement. "Thank you to LMPD and our first responders for your bravery at the scene. We send our prayers to the victims, their families, and the city of Louisville as we await more information."
President Joe Biden said he and first lady Jill Biden were praying for the victims.
"Once again, our nation mourns after a senseless act of gun violence. ... Too many Americans are paying for the price of inaction with their lives," Biden said in a statement. "When will Republicans in Congress act to protect our communities?"
Monday's gunfire was the latest mass shooting in America. It happened just two weeks after six people, including three young children, were gunned down at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee.
There have been several other instances of mass shootings in the workplace just in the past five months:
- Seven farmworkers were gunned down in Half Moon Bay, California, on Jan. 23.
- Six Walmart workers were killed Nov. 22 in Chesapeake, Virginia.
- Four people were killed at a marijuana farm in Hennessey, Oklahoma, on Nov. 20.
Monday's gunfire also brought back unpleasant memories for longtime Louisville residents who recall Sept. 14, 1989, when disgruntled employee Joseph Wesbecker went to the Standard Gravure printing plant with an AK-47 and killed eight people.
Wesbecker, 47, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the scene.
Morgan Chesky reported from Louisville, Andrew Blankstein from Los Angeles and David K. Li from New York City.