Five people have died while eight others, including two police officers, were treated at a local hospital on Monday, April 10, after a lone gunman went on a shooting rampage at a Louisville, Kentucky bank, according to authorities.
Police identified the shooter as Connor Sturgeon, 25, an employee at the Old National Bank who allegedly had been informed that he would be fired soon. Sturgeon entered the bank, located in the downtown area, in the early morning, and fired several times, according to authorities.
Sturgeon, a graduate of the University of Alabama, interned for three summers at the bank prior to starting a full-time position in June 2021, according to sources.
The shooting, occurring 100 days into 2023, counts as the 15th mass killing this year and the nation’s 146th mass shooting in its history.
“Today is a day that is heartbreaking for our city, for all of us, especially for the people in that office at Old National Bank and their loved ones,” Mayor Craig Greenberg said at a press conference Monday.
Andy Beshear, Kentucky’s governor, said Tommy Elliot, one of the bank employees killed, was a close friend of his who had helped him early in his career.
“Today I am hurt and I am hurting,” he said. “And I know so many people out there are as well. We lost four children of God today. Our bodies and our minds are not meant to go through these kinds of tragedies,” Beshear added, tearing up while speaking with the media.
Greenberg acknowledged the heroic efforts of law enforcement who, numbering more than 20, entered the bank within three minutes after the shooting was reported.
“Without a doubt, their actions saved lives,” he said.
Reactions from across the country continue to pour in following the shooting including from the White House where Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted: “We grieve for those lost and pray for those wounded in Louisville, the 146th mass shooting in our nation this year.”
Deadly trend continues in 2023
The Louisville massacre becomes the 15th mass killing in 2023 including four public shootings with most represented by family-related incidents, according to a USA TODAY database which goes back to 2006.
Just days into the new year, a man shot and killed seven members of his family before killing himself in Utah. Three mass shootings soon followed, occurring within a few days – in a house, dance hall and on two farms. In March, a shooter killed three children and three adults in a private Christian school in Nashville.
Also this year, there have been three mass killings in California, two in Alabama and Florida, and one in Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah, according to the database. The killings have resulted in at least 79 deaths and 20 people injured, excluding the shooters.
These numbers point to a trend of deadly proportion that has increased with tragic outcomes for nearly 20 years.
“This is consistent with the overall trend that mass shootings are becoming more frequent,” said James Densley, co-founder of the nonprofit research center, the Violence Project.
Only two other times since 2006 has the U.S. witnessed more than 15 mass killings by April 10, according to the database.
The nonprofit Gun Violence Archive tracks all mass shootings, defined as a shooting in which at least four victims are hit by gunfire. There have been 146 mass shootings this year – up 10% over the previous record year of 2021, said Mark Bryant, executive director.
The archive tracks publicly sourced media and police reports and includes incidents like the mass shooting at Michigan State University, where a man killed three students and injured five others in February.
Gun violence in 2023 claims thousands of lives
Mass shootings, while they continue to be covered more frequently by the media, only account for a fraction of the injuries which Americans suffer due to gun violence each year.
Almost 5,000 people have died from gunfire so far in 2023, and nearly 9,000 have been injured, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Hundreds of children under age 11 have been killed or injured, along with more than one thousand teens. It’s estimated that thousands of people have also died by suicide with about 50% of all gun violence deaths in the U.S. each year representing deaths by suicide.
Criticism has risen by those angered by the indecisiveness of state legislatures and Congress.
“Americans are tired of fearing if they or their families will be the next victims of a mass shooting and our children are tired of being told to ‘run, hide, and fight,’” said Kris Brown, president of Brady: United Against Gun Violence, an organization seeking to mitigate gun violence in the U.S.
“These regular, uniquely American tragedies must be a call to action for our political leaders. We need decisive change to U.S. gun laws and regulations. The cost of political inaction on preventing gun violence is increasingly, tragically clear,” Brown said.
Mark S. Kaplan, a professor of social welfare at UCLA, told a CNN reporter, that change can occur now but only if officials are willing to act.
“There are real solutions and tools – including bans on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – available now that can make a difference, but only if our elected officials act to implement them,” he said.
But given America’s relationship to gun ownership and its gun culture, legislative efforts remain complicated at best.
With about 120 guns for every 100 Americans, no other nation has more civilian guns than people, according to the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey. About 44% of U.S. adults live in a household with a gun; one-third own one personally, according to a November 2020 Gallup survey.
Ironically, about one-third of adults in the U.S. say there would be less crime if more people owned guns, according to an April 2021 Pew survey.
However, multiple studies show that where people have easy access to firearms, gun-related deaths tend to be more frequent, including by suicide, homicide and unintentional injuries. At the same time, mass shootings continue to increase the demand for more guns.
One should therefore not be surprised that the U.S. has more deaths from gun violence than any other developed country per capita. The rate in the U.S. counts as eight times greater than in Canada, which has the seventh highest rate of gun ownership in the world; 22 times higher than in the European Union and 23 times greater than in Australia, according to Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation data from 2019.