A 23-year-old man was arrested in the fatal shooting of a photographer documenting a Breonna Taylor protest at a park in Louisville, Kentucky, Saturday night, police said.
Steven Lopez is being held in connection with the shooting death of 27-year-old Tyler Gerth, who was fatally wounded after bullets were fired at the Taylor demonstration, according to an arrest citation.
Lopez, who had been seen at other protests and was previously arrested with other demonstrators, was wounded in the leg by gunfire from bystanders at the park who were defending themselves, the arrest citation said.
He has been charged with murder and wanton endangerment.
Steven Lopez, a 23-year-old protester, was arrested in the fatal shooting of a photographer documenting a Breonna Taylor protest at a park in Louisville, Kentucky, Saturday night
Steven Lopez is being held in connection with the shooting death of 27-year-old Tyler Gerth (pictured), who was fatally wounded after bullets were fired at the Taylor demonstration
Video footage (pictured) taken at the peaceful protest just before the mayhem began around 9 p.m. in Jefferson Square Park showed a gunman opening fire on masses of people who were in attendance.
The shooting took place at a park that has become a focal point for the city’s protests demanding justice for Taylor, the black EMT who was gunned down by cops in her apartment back in March.
Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said Lopez had been participating in the protests since they began and had been arrested a few times.
The arrest citation said Lopez was born in 1996, but it lists no driver’s license number or home address, other than Louisville.
Video footage taken at the peaceful protest just before the mayhem began around 9 p.m. in Jefferson Square Park showed a gunman opening fire on masses of people who were in attendance.
The footage also showed people rushing to help a person lying in a pool of blood.
Gerth had been out shooting pictures since the protests began over Taylor’s passing and had posted the images on his Instagram account, the Courier Journal reports. He was a vocal supporter of the movement before his passing, according to relatives.
His godfather was Joe Gerth, a columnist for the Courier Journal. Tyler Gerth in turn was godfather to the writer’s daughter.
Protesters at the park Sunday said Lopez was a familiar face around the protests but sometimes caused trouble. Julie Sullivan, who was near the corner where the shooter fired, said Lopez was asked to leave earlier on Saturday.
Sullivan said she heard about eight gunshots that broke up an otherwise calm day of demonstrations. She saw some nearby children and yelled for them to crawl toward her.
‘I’ve never been through anything like that, and I hope I never go through anything like that again,’ Sullivan said.
Lopez, who had been seen at other protests and was previously arrested (pictured) with other demonstrators, faces murder and first-degree wanton endangerment charges for the death of Gerth
Gerth’s family members released a statement saying they were ‘devastated that his life was taken was from us far too soon.’
‘Tyler was incredibly kind, tender hearted and generous, holding deep convictions and faith,’ they wrote.
‘It was this sense of justice that drove Tyler to be part of the peaceful demonstrations advocating for the destruction of the systemic racism within our society’s systems,’ the family members explained.
‘This, combined with his passion of photography led to a strong need within him to be there, documenting the movement, capturing and communicating the messages of peace and justice.’
A vigil was to be held for Gerth at Jefferson Square Park Sunday night.
Louisville Metro Police Department released a statement confirming that there were reports of shots fired in the park at around 9 p.m. and that authorities tried to save one man who died at the scene.
Officers then received a report of another shooting victim at the Hall of Justice.
The second victim was taken to University Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.
Louisville police released a statement confirming that there were reports of shots fired in the park at around 9 p.m. Saturday. Pictured is an image of footage taken of the scene
The park is seen taped off later that night after the shooting that left Gerth dead, police said
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer after the shooting Saturday said he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the incident.
‘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,’ Fischer said in a statement.
‘It is a tragedy that this area of peaceful protest is now a crime scene.’
This marks at least the second shooting in the last month during protests in Louisville over Taylor’s death.
On May 28, seven people were shot in a shooting near City Hall.
Taylor’s mother broke her silence over the violence then urged people to stop ‘hurting each other’ amid demands for justice over her daughter’s slaying.
Taylor, 26, was shot eight times and killed when three plain clothes officers performed a botched no-knock arrest warrant at her apartment in Louisville on March 13.
Breonna Taylor (pictured) was shot eight times and killed when three plain clothes officers performed a no-knock arrest warrant at her apartment in Louisville on March 13
The three officers said they were investigating drugs offenses and that Taylor’s boyfriend opened fire on them when they entered.
Her family say neither she – a hardworking EMT – nor her boyfriend used drugs and that he fired his gun because he thought the three plain clothes officers were intruders.
This week Louisville police fired one of the cops involved in her death saying he showed ‘extreme indifference to the value of human life’ when he ‘blindly fired 10 rounds’ into her apartment.
Officer Brett Hankison, 44, was fired Tuesday from the department for his part in her killing, where he violated the department’s regulations and deadly force standards, Louisville Metro Police announced.
Hankison said he was appealing the decision, as his attorney blasted his firing as ‘a cowardly political act’.
Officer Brett Hankison was fired Tuesday from the department for his part in the killing of black EMT Taylor, 26, Louisville Metro Police announced
Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly (left) and Officer Myles Cosgrove (right) are the other two cops involved in the killing of the black woman. Neither of them have been fired
The Kentucky Attorney General is still yet to decide whether to bring charges against any of the three cops three months on from Taylor’s slaying and the other two cops involved – Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrave – have not been fired.
Last week, FBI agents searched Taylor’s home for evidence as part of their revived investigation.
Louisville PD has repeatedly come under fire for its handling of the case.
Earlier in the month, the force released a heavily redacted incident report which said Taylor had no injuries despite her having been shot eight times and killed in the raid.
The family has accused the city of deliberately ignoring subpoenas for records relating to her death that were requested as part of a lawsuit filed by the victim’s mother, Tamika Palmer, back in April.
Taylor’s death has sparked outrage across America.
NEW YORK: Hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters congregate at the City Hall in New York as part of the ‘Defund NYPD’ and ‘Occupy City Hall’ movement
NEW YORK: In New York, hundreds of protesters camped outside City Hall Saturday night demanding lawmakers slash the New York City police budget by $1billion
NEW YORK: The demonstrators are demanding the New York City Council City Council cut at least $1 billion from the police department’s current $6 billion budget when it begins considering a new city budget
Anger over her death was ignited further following the death of black man George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day at the hands of a white cop.
Protesters have been taking to the streets of the nation demanding an end to police brutality and systemic racism, and calls are mounting for widespread police reform.
In New York, hundreds of protesters camped outside City Hall Saturday night demanding lawmakers slash the New York City police budget by $1billion.
The ‘Occupy City Hall’ encampment began forming Tuesday following weeks of street protests over the death of Floyd and other black Americans killed by cops.
The demonstrators are demanding the New York City Council City Council cut at least $1 billion from the police department’s current $6 billion budget when it begins considering a new city budget.
According to NY1, protesters have designated the area police free, and say officers have been keeping their distance.
The encampment was told it is allowed to remain a protest zone as long as no structures were set up, the New York Post reported.
PORTLAND: In Portland, Oregon, protesters have been trying to establish an autonomous zone outside the North police precinct
PORTLAND: Saturday marked the 31st night of protests and reports of clashes between protesters and cops continued
Organizers have called it ‘Occupy City Hall’ – a nod to the 2010 Occupy Wall Street movement a few blocks away in Zuccotti Park.
Meanwhile over in Portland, Oregon, protesters have been trying to establish an autonomous zone outside the North police precinct.
Scenes descended into chaos Friday night on the one-month anniversary of Floyd’s death with stores looted and fires set in the area.
Saturday marked the 31st night of protests and reports of clashes between protesters and cops continued.
According to reports on social media, officers deployed shot pepper balls at protesters and tear gas was used to disperse crowds as Portland Police put out a statement that riot control agents were being used at around 1:30 a.m. and told people ‘you are ordered to disperse immediately’.
Reports also surfaced that a car had been driven into protesters in the area.
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