Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters that his close friend was one of the four people killed in the shooting at a bank in Louisville on Monday, and that another two friends were hospitalized with injures.
“I have a very close friend that didn’t make it today,” an emotional Beshear said at a press conference. “And one who’s at the hospital who I hope will make it through,” he added.
Police and Beshear identified the friend as 63-year-old Thomas Elliott, a senior vice president at Old National Bank, where the shooting took place.
Initial local reports suggested that Beshear’s friend who died was a 2015 staffer for his Attorney General campaign. However, Elliott is a longtime Democratic Party fundraiser who was also good friends with Louisville Metro Mayor Craig Greenberg.
Beshear later added that he had received “incorrect information” about another friend who he believed had been killed in the shooting, but later learned that the individual had been injured.
Police identified the three other victims as Jim Tutt, 64; Josh Barrick, 40; and Juliana Farmer, 57. One of the responding officers who was critically injured was identified as Nicholas Wilt, 26.
Nine people were injured in the shooting, with three patients remaining in critical condition. Three of the patients have been discharged, according to local media. Two of those injured were police officers, authorities said.
The shooter was later identified by police as 23-year-old Connor Sturgeon. He appeared to be a former employee of the bank, police said, but did not provide a motive. The shooter used a rifle, authorities said. He exchanged fire with police officers and died, but authorities have not clarified how.
Several businesses in the area said they will remain closed for the day, local outlets report. Police responded to a second shooting just hours later outside the Jefferson Community and Technical College that left one dead and one injured. The suspect remains at large, but police have reassured the public that there is no active threat and that the two shootings are not connected.
President Joe Biden denounced the shooting and called on Congress to enact federal gun reform legislation.
“How many more Americans must die before Republicans in Congress will act to protect our communities?” Biden said in a statement. “It’s long past time that we require safe storage of firearms. Require background checks for all gun sales. Eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability. We can and must do these things now.”
“Elaine and I are devastated by the news coming out of Louisville this morning,” tweeted Senate Minority leader and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell.
Louisville State Rep. Keturah Herron appeared to be one of the first politicians to call for gun reform after the shooting.
She said there must be “outrage and anger” over the frequency of mass shootings in the country adding, “We live in a war zone and we shouldn’t have to.”
“Pray with us for those who are currently at UofL Hospital, injured, fighting for their lives as a result of another act of gun violence,” Greenberg said at a press conference.
Greenberg had actively campaigned on a gun reform platform, sharing his own experience of gun violence after a man broke into his campaign headquarters and attempted to kill him.
The Louisville shooting marks the 146th mass shooting in the U.S. this year and comes just two weeks after a Nashville school shooting that killed six people, including three children. The shooter in that incident was killed by police.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee later said that two of his own friends were among those killed at the Covenant School in Nashville: Cynthia Peak and Katherine Koonce, who was the head of the school.