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KY man dead after police, National Guard return fire on rioters who fired first

Police car lights. (Alexandru Cuznetov/Dreamstime/TNS)
June 01, 2020

A man was shot and killed in Louisville, Ky. after police and National Guard troops returned fire on rioters who shot at them early Monday morning.

Louisville Metro Police and Kentucky National Guard members were sent to clear out crowds at a parking lot in the city at around 12 a.m., when the incident occurred, according to a statement by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

“Last night at around 12 a.m., it is our understanding that Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) and the Kentucky National Guard were dispatched to 26th and Broadway. While working to disperse a crowd, LMPD and the Kentucky National Guard were fired upon,” Beshear’s statement reads. “LMPD and the Kentucky National Guard returned fire resulting in a death. Given the seriousness of the situation, I have authorized the Kentucky State Police to independently investigate the event.”

LMPD Chief Steve Conrad similarly assessed the situation in a statement provided to NBC News.

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“Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at,” Conrad said. “Both LMPD and National Guard members returned fire, we have one man dead at scene.”

Conrad reportedly did not specify whether the LMPD or the National Guard that fired the fatal shot. Authorities have not released information about the man killed in the return fire.

Louisville police officials told NBC they were interviewing several “persons of interest” in connection with the incident and collecting video.

The incident follows mass demonstrations around the country, sparked by the death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday. Graphic video showed an officer had placed his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he struggled to breathe.

Protests against police brutality have spread since the Monday incident, moving to other cities across the country.

Floyd’s death also comes after a March police incident in Louisville in which Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was killed as Louisville Police executed a “no-knock” raid at her home, with a warrant for her ex-boyfriend.

ABC News reported Taylor was sleeping in her home when she was killed in the raid, according to a lawsuit filed by her mother, Tamika Palmer.

Protests have gathered in Louisville, in response to the pair of police incidents. More than 40 people were arrested Sunday night in Louisville, WAVE 3 reported.

LMPD is reportedly also investigating seven incidents of people being shot during protests on Thursday. LMPD has said its officers did not fire their weapons during the Thursday incident, according to a statement obtained by the Courier-Journal.