(AP) — A Louisville bank employee armed with a rifle opened fire at his workplace Monday morning, killing five people — including a close friend of Kentucky’s governor — while livestreaming the attack on Instagram, authorities said.
Police arrived as shots were still being fired inside Old National Bank and killed the shooter in an exchange of gunfire, Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said. The city’s mayor, Craig Greenberg, called the attack “an evil act of targeted violence.”
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.
In Louisville, the chief identified the shooter as 25-year-old Connor Sturgeon, who she said was livestreaming during the attack.
“That’s tragic to know that that incident was out there and captured,” she said.
Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, said in a statement that it had “quickly removed the livestream of this tragic incident this morning.”
Social media companies have imposed tougher rules over the past few years to prohibit violent and extremist content. They have set up systems to remove posts and streams that violate those restrictions, but shocking material like the Louisville shooting continues to slip through the cracks, prompting lawmakers and other critics to lash out at the technology industry for slipshod safeguards and moderation policies.
A man who fled the building during the shooting told WHAS-TV that the shooter opened fire with a long rifle in a conference room in the back of the building’s first floor.
“Whoever was next to me got shot — blood is on me from it,” he told the news station, pointing to his shirt. He said he fled to a break room and shut the door.
Nine people, including two police officers, were treated for injuries, University of Louisville Hospital spokeswoman Heather Fountaine said in an email. One of the wounded, identified as 57-year-old Deana Eckert, later died, police said Monday night.
At least three patients had been discharged.
Kentucky Governor 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 and Juliana Farmer, police said.
Beshear spoke as the investigation in Louisville continued and police searched for a motive. Crime scene investigators could be seen marking and photographing numerous bullet holes in the windows near the front door of the bank, not far from Waterfront Park and minor league ballpark Louisville Slugger Field.
Deputy Police Chief Paul Humphrey said the actions of responding police officers undoubtedly saved lives.
“This is a tragic event,” he said. “But it was the heroic response of officers that made sure that no more people were more seriously injured than what happened.”
The 15 mass shootings this year are the most during the first 100 days of a calendar year since 2009, when 16 had occurred by April 10, according to a mass killings database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University. The pace slowed later in 2009, with 32 mass killings recorded that year.