Fischer Condemns Shootings, Will Meet With West End Leaders

by Phillip M. Bailey on May 17, 2012

Promising to meet with community leaders, Mayor Greg Fischer denounced a brazen shooting spree in west Louisville that left three dead and three others injured.

The first incident happened Thursday afternoon after four people were shot at 32nd and Kentucky streets. Among the victims were Craig Bland Jr., 22, and Tyson Mimms, 24, who both died of multiple gunshot wounds. Two other men remain unidentified but were transported to University Hospital where they remain hospitalized, one in critical condition and the other with non-life threatening injuries.

Another shooting occurred amidst hundreds of residents, investigators and media outlets. Two women at the scene began arguing, according to police. One of the women pulled out a gun and shot the other, who has been identified as Makeba Lee, 24, who died at the scene.

Fischer says the level of brazen violence is unacceptable, but that investigators are confident those involved have been either apprehended or died during the incident.

“This does not appear to be a random act of violence,” he says. “All the individuals involved in today’s cowardly acts are either deceased or now in police custody. It’s unacceptable to me. It’s unacceptable to the chief and his team. And it’s unacceptable to our entire community that there is any violence in our city.”

According to police, the female shooter, who remains unidentified, turned her gun to police and was shot by an officer who has since been put on administrative leave. She was transported to the hospital and according to police, is out of surgery where her condition is non-life threatening.

The rash of violence caused nearby schools to reroute students who would’ve otherwise been dropped off in the area. Investigators have not commented on any motive, but police have heightened patrols in the surrounding neighborhoods in response.

Police Chief Steve Conrad was at the scene during the second round of shots. He told the media today’s incidents are unacceptable, but that he couldn’t recall such a defiant act of violence at a crime scene before.

“I have not seen that before,” he said. “It’s hard to put yourself in this woman’s head and figure out what motivates someone to pull out a gun amidst so many police officers.”

The chief urged the public and media outlets to avoid connecting the dots between this pair of shootings and other incidents until officers complete their investigation. Speculation among residents and witnesses grows as law enforcement officials acknowledge the potential for retaliation.

“It’s a bad day for our entire city. It’s a bad day for west Louisville,” says Councilwoman Attica Woodson Scott, D-1, who represents the Parkland neighborhood where the shooting took place. “But this sends a strong message that we can’t keep ignoring certain parts of our city.”

Councilman David James, D-6, chairs the Public Safety Committee and is former police officer. He has publicly warned about increased violence in the area and in statement, says residents need to be more engaged to curb violent crime.

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the shootings and murders in west Louisville today. We are all truly devastated by the news and our hearts go out to those families impacted,” he said. “I am grateful for Mayor Fischer and Chief Conrad’s prompt response but believe that without community engagement and neighborhood activism we will continue to live with sad days such as this one.”

Community activist Christopher 2X has scheduled a press conference along with Scott outside the closed Parkland Boys and Girls Club to address the violence.

The mayor plans to meet with civic and religious leaders in the West End on Friday to discuss the incident, but Fischer’s spokesman wouldn’t confirm with which organizations. He says the entire community should know west Louisville as a safe place to live and not judge those neighborhoods by the rash of shootings.

“It’s a place of family, it’s a place of church and a place of fellowship. And that’s the West End and all of Louisville that I and all of my team are determined to maintain,” he says.

Public officials are encouraging anyone with any information to call the anonymous hotline 574-LMPD.

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