One child is dead and two more are injured after a drive-by shooting at a school bus stop in Kentucky.
The shooting occurred at 6:30 a.m. at Doctor W.J. Hodge and Chestnut streets in the Russell neighborhood of Louisville, according to the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) on Twitter.
A 16-year-old boy was pronounced dead at UofL Hospital. Another boy, 14, is being treated for non-life threatening injuries at Norton Children’s Hospital, and a girl, 14, whose ankle was grazed was treated for minor injuries at the scene. All children were students at Eastern High School.
The school bus that the children were waiting for arrived shortly after the shooting, and students of Crosby Middle School were waiting nearby at the time of the shooting.
“This is traumatic for every single student that was at the bus stop,” said Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio at a city press conference.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said that school bus stops should be a “sacred space” in the community with an expectation of safety.
“This is a traumatic tragedy that impacts not just that space, but every school bus stop and every family who thinks about the safety of these stops in our city," he said. "That sacred space was violated this rainy Wednesday morning by gunfire, and a teen who should be in school today will not be there and will never be there again.”
Louisville Metro Police Chief Erika Shields said that the perpetrators of the shooting are likely still armed and should be considered dangerous. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is working with the Louisville police department on the investigation. Several citizens have already shared information on the shooting with law enforcement, Shields said.
Pollio said that crisis counselors have been dispatched to both Eastern High School and Crosby Middle School. The Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods has sent outreach workers to the hospital and to Eastern High School as part of its Pivot to Peace initiative. The office’s director, Monique Williams, said that her department is partnering with Russell: A Place of Promise to create a healing space for those impacted by the shooting. And, her office will be working with LMPD on a focused deterrence response in the future.
At the press conference, officials attempted to answer the question of what the city of Louisville is doing to stop similar violence.
“This is a daily, constant commitment of my administration,” said Mayor Fischer.
Shields said that her department has been working with the FBI and the ATF and is removing violent felons off the streets daily. The city also recently quadrupled its funding to non law enforcement violence prevention strategies, said Fischer.
But, he and Shields also blamed the proliferation of guns on Louisville’s violence. Fischer asked for help from state and federal partners to address the issue.
Louisville Metro Council member Jecorey Arthur called on the government to meet individuals’ basic needs in order to address root causes of violence. But, he also asked communities to plug into the work that the city is doing and to hold their members accountable.
“As you watch this, as you engage in what we’re talking about right now at this moment, and you’re rightfully so very angry, I need you to turn that anger into advocacy, because that is the only thing that will incite action,” he said.
This story was originally published by CityBeat sister paper LEO Weekly.
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