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Shots fired in downtown Louisville as protesters condemn new LMPD chief

Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 5:02 AM CST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Protesters gathered near the 2nd Street Bridge in downtown Louisville Wednesday night, upset over the hiring of new Louisville Metro Police Chief Erika Shields.

While crowds of people and cars blocked the bridge, shots were fired at a car as people swarmed the area.

A WAVE 3 News crew captured the moment an SUV barreled through the intersection on Main Street near the bridge where protesters were stopping traffic. The car is seen driving onto the bridge as two people chase it with guns in their hands, and then bullets fly.

“Get down, get down!” WAVE 3 News photographer James Dobson is heard telling reporter Jerrica Valtierra.

The two were not hurt.

It hasn’t been confirmed if anyone in the crowd was hit by the stray bullets or if arrests were made.

Meanwhile, demonstrators were outraged, bringing to light their reasoning for crowding in downtown Louisville. Many told WAVE 3 News they didn’t think there was enough community input on Shields’ hiring and they don’t approve of Mayor Fischer making the decision on the matter. The group said they wanted to represent the Black community and took to the streets.

“We don’t want Erika,” one demonstrator said. “It’s over.”

“Go back to ATL,” another said. “We don’t want her at all.”

Likewise, George Rodman, a retired LMPD officer and father to Nick Rodman, who died in the line of duty, said in a statement: “Officers want to give Shields a chance, but none of these groups say the new chief will help mend the community, so long as Mayor Fischer is hiring and firing.”

Others, including gun violence survivors, said a new face at the helm of LMPD may bring hope to those waiting for change after Breonna Taylor’s death and a record-breaking year of deadly violence in Louisville.

“I know what those impacted by violent crime need, they need that fresh start,” community activist Christopher 2X told WAVE 3 News. “They need that kind of attention and they welcomed that today. It doesn’t speak for every survivor in the city. I can tell every survivor in the city, they had two families in there today who was advocating for them.”

Shields officially becomes LMPD’s new chief on Jan. 19.

Copyright 2021 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.