Is Louisville’s West End turning into a shooting gallery? [Opinion: The Arena]

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Scene of today's West End shootings

Black Muslim leaders held a press conference this morning in Louisville, at 37th and Vermont Avenue; the location of three shootings in the last ten days.  Minister Jerald Muhammad announced an initiative to end the violence, including a free program to provide job and skills training, and mentoring to anyone that's interested.  He blamed drugs and a lack of moral direction for the recent shootings, and suggested that the shooters should not be the only ones held accountable.

stop the killing meeting schedule.jpgWith ironic timing—less than two hours later—the Parkland neighborhood, south of Broadway, erupted in an orgy of gunfire and death.  At least three people were killed, and several others were wounded by gunfire.  The multiple shootings occurred just before 1:00 p.m., in the 1000 block of 32nd Street. When police arrived at the scene, they found two men dead of gunshot wounds, and a third man was taken to University Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad—who coincidently happened to be taking part in a ride-along with beat officers this afternoon—was on the scene shortly after the shootings happened.

shooting 05-17d.jpgShortly thereafter—around 2:30 p.m.—a LMPD officer shot and injured a suspected murderer nearby, at 32nd and Garland.  LMPD spokesperson Alicia Smiley said the officer shot a woman who had just shot and killed another woman. The suspect was transported to University Hospital. Her condition is not known.

At this time, it is too soon to determine whether the incident is related to a mass shooting earlier in the afternoon a few blocks away at 1010 South 32nd Street.   Apparently, a scuffle broke out between two women in the crowd that had gathered behind police tape at the scene, Police Chief Steve Conrad said.  As they scuffled, one woman pulled out a gun and fired on the other woman, Conrad said. An officer who was standing near the scuffle responded, firing at least one shot, shooting the woman who had the gun, Conrad said. She was taken to University Hospital, where her condition is unknown, he said. The other woman is dead at the scene.

Fischer Press Conference 05-17-12.jpgLater in the day—at 7:00 p.m.—Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer held a press conference at Louisville Metro Hall, and stated that the day’s violence “did not appear to be random.”  He enlisted the assistance of the entire community to help the police with investigating this series of crimes, and requested anyone with information concerning the shootings to call the LMPD tip line, at 574-LMPD.  “This level of violence will not be tolerated in our city,” concluded Fischer.

Louisville’s new Police Chief, Col. Steve Conrad, appeared at Mayor Fischer’s press conference, and stressed that this day’s shootings were neither typical nor characteristic of our community.  He reiterated the Mayor’s call for public support and assistance in the criminal investigation.

shooting 05-17.jpg   shooting 05-17b.jpg

Something bad is obviously going on in Louisville’s West End.  In the next few days, we can expect a spate of pronouncements from preachers and politicians, concerning the myriad causes of all this lawlessness.  Predictably, none will offer any viable solutions to this growing problem.  The shootings will continue, unabated.  And Mayor Fischer is, unfortunately mistaken:  This level of violence will be tolerated in our city.

Read previous article:  Louisville’s 25 unsolved murders for 2011

Community leaders announce initiative to stop the killing in Louisville's West End

 

Chaotic scene as gunfire erupts in west Louisville

 

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Louisville.com's The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of Louisville.com (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions).  The Arena is read by more people in Louisville than in any other city in America.  Photo credits:  Google Maps, WHAS, WDRB, WAVE, WLKY screen shots.

About Thomas McAdam
At various times I have been a student, a soldier, a college Political Science teacher, a political campaign treasurer, and legal adviser to Louisville's Police Department and Board of Aldermen. I now practice law and share my political opinions with anyone who will listen.
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