1 dead, 1 injured at Breonna Taylor protest park in Kentucky

"It is a tragedy that this area of peaceful protest is now a crime scene," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted.

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By Alicia Victoria Lozano

At least one person was killed and another injured in a shooting Saturday night in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, at the site of ongoing protests over the death of Breonna Taylor.

In a series of tweets, Louisville police said they received calls around 9 p.m. that gunshots had been fired near Jefferson Square Park. Police then received calls that members of the sheriff's department were performing life-saving measures on a man who later died at the scene.

Shortly after, police received reports of another shooting nearby. The person who was shot was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

Police cleared the park and were “trying to gather as much information as possible in order to identify all who were involved in the incident,” the Louisville Metro Police Department said in a statement.

"I am deeply saddened by the violence that erupted in Jefferson Square Park tonight, where those who have been voicing their concerns have been gathered," Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted. "It is a tragedy that this area of peaceful protest is now a crime scene."

The victim was identified as Tyler Charles Gerth, 27, on Sunday during a virtual press conference held by Fischer.

Interim Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder also spoke Sunday, addressing the anger at how the park had been cleared out Saturday night. He apologized for any damaged belongings when officers cleared the area.

"I know this has caused great concern and anger, but it simply had to be done given that we had a homicide in the park last night," Schroeder said. "The tents and supplies that had taken over the park created a situation that could no longer be safely handled."

Tents will no longer be allowed in Jefferson Square, as per city ordinance, as officials feel the situation has become "too dangerous" to allow the overnight stays to continue.

Surveillance video played during the virtual presser appeared to show a man at the park just a few feet away from the tents brandish a weapon as people scrambled to get away.

A man believed to be the aggressor was in custody at a hospital, Schroeder said. He was identified Sunday by authorities as Steven Nelson Lopez, who was arrested for investigation of murder and wanton endangerment.

He had been repeatedly asked to leave by others in the park and had been arrested multiple times over the last few weeks of protest, the chief said.

Detectives are looking into identified others who were reportedly armed at the park.

For weeks, Jefferson Square park has been home to protests over the police-involved deaths of Taylor and George Floyd. The Saturday night shooting was at least the second during nearly a month of protests in Louisville, The Associated Press reported. Seven people were injured on May 28 when gunfire erupted during protests.

Taylor, 26, was killed in her home in March by police who were serving a no-knock warrant, which has since become a flashpoint among people calling for sweeping criminal justice reform. A detective involved in her death was recently fired.

"I find your conduct a shock to the conscience," the police department's interim chief, Robert J. Schroeder, wrote in a termination letter to Detective Brett Hankison.

Doha Madani contributed.