BREAKING: Suspected Gunman Identified in Shooting of Two Louisville Officers amid Breonna Taylor Protests
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The suspect accused of shooting two Louisville police officers during Breonna Taylor demonstrations faces assault and wanton endangerment charges. One officer was released from the hospital Thursday, and the second is out of surgery and expected to recover, authorities said.
Larynzo Johnson, 26, was charged with two counts of assault in the first degree and 14 counts of wanton endangerment in connection with the shooting of police officers, Louisville Metro Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder said at a press conference Thursday. The investigation is ongoing.
LMPD Major Aubrey Gregory, who is White, was treated and released from University Hospital with a leg wound after being shot beneath his hip. Officer Robinson Desrouches, who is Black, was struck in the abdomen is in stable condition after undergoing significant surgery and is expected to recover. LMPD also released two photos of the officers wounded.
Schroeder said 127 people were arrested overnight amid the demonstrations following the grand jury decision to charge only one officer in connection to the police operation that killed Taylor, but not her death. There were also at least 16 instances of looting across the city.
Louisville Metro PD releasing photos of the two officers who were shot last night amid the protests. Major Aubrey Gregory and Officer Robinson Desrouches. Both are expected to survive. One is already out of the hospital. @FoxNews #foxnews #Louisville pic.twitter.com/e9yte87hoV
— Jeff Paul (@Jeff_Paul) September 24, 2020
“I want to emphasize how grateful I am for LMPD. The men and woman literally putting their lives of the line to protect our people and protect our city,” Mayor Greg Fischer said at the press conference. “What we saw last night with two police officers being shot is obviously, completely unacceptable. Violence will only be a source of pain, not a cure for pain. We know violence is never the answer.”
“Public safety and the work for racial justice and equity can and must coexist,” he said.
Shots rang out when Louisville police officers were conducting crowd control operations at Broadway and Brook Street “in response to a large crowd that had set fires, caused property damage and failed to disperse after being warned,” according to the post-arrest complaint filed in Jefferson County.
Johnson “intentionally used a handgun to fire multiple bullets at officers” addressing the crowd, the complaint said. Two officers were struck by bullets causing serious physical injury. Police said witnesses spotted Johnson firing a handgun at officers and running from the scene. The complaint said he was also in possession of a handgun at the time of his arrest and law enforcement recovered video of the shooting showing the suspect fire at officers.
A police statement first obtained by the Associated Press said some people were arrested in Louisville, Ky., after damaging businesses and more were detained after jumping on city vehicles being used as barricades. Later, protesters who refused orders to disperse were arrested for curfew and unlawful assembly violations.
Police also said some businesses were looted early Thursday, including two City Gear stores and a pawn shop.
Fischer said a curfew from 9 p.m. until 6:30 a.m. will remain in effect a second night from late Thursday until early Friday.
In relation to the officer-involved shooting, Interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said officers were responding to calls about shots fired and a large crowd in the area around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. While deploying, he said shots rang out on First and Broadway, and two officers were hit.
The shooting happened about a half-hour before a curfew went into effect. FBI Louisville said the shooting occurred amid “First Amendment-protected peaceful demonstrations” and urged anyone with videos or photos of the incident to provide them using an online submission form on the agency’s website.
FBI Louisville and @LMPD are seeking the public's help regarding the shooting of LMPD officers on 09/23/2020. Anyone with pictures or videos of the incident is asked to provide those files using https://t.co/6PCitiZl9J.
— FBI Louisville (@FBILouisville) September 24, 2020
Schroeder declined to go into detail about the injuries but said those sustained by both officers were non-life-threatening. The officers were being treated at University Hospital. One was alert and stable, while the second was undergoing surgery and was in stable condition.
“I am very concerned about the safety of our officers,” Schroeder said at a press conference around 10 p.m. ET. “Recently, we’ve had two officers shot tonight and that is very serious, that is a very dangerous position. I think the safety of our officers and the community we serve is of the utmost importance.”
He said the department would not release the names of the wounded officers at that time. The police department did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on Thursday.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in a video message late Wednesday that one individual shot two law enforcement officers, before urging people who remained on the streets to go home and peacefully protest in the days to come without violence.
A message from Governor Beshear on events tonight in Louisville. pic.twitter.com/XK8FZSXy8D
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) September 24, 2020
President Trump on Wednesday night tweeted he was “Praying for the two police officers that were shot tonight in Louisville, Kentucky. The Federal Government stands behind you and is ready to help. Spoke to @GovAndyBeshear and we are prepared to work together, immediately upon request!”
Praying for the two police officers that were shot tonight in Louisville, Kentucky. The Federal Government stands behind you and is ready to help. Spoke to @GovAndyBeshear and we are prepared to work together, immediately upon request!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2020