Seven people were shot in downtown Louisville, Ky., at a protest Thursday evening calling for justice for a 26-year-old black woman who was shot and killed in her apartment by police in March.
The protests started peacefully. But shortly after 11:30 p.m., shots were fired.
“While the situation is unfolding we know there were several hours of peaceful protest before some in the crowd turned violent, leaving some people being shot from within the crowd,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a video statement posted to Twitter early Friday morning.
It’s not yet clear who shot people in the crowd, though the mayor said no officers fired weapons. He thanked police for ignoring risks to themselves to get aid to those who had been hurt.
The mayor has said that two of the victims require surgery.
Areas around the protest sustained damage by the end of the evening, as member station WFPL reported.
“Protesters damaged the statue of King Louis XVI outside Metro Hall and slashed vehicle tires,” the station reported. “Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets.”
The mayor expressed sympathy for those mourning the loss of Taylor, who was shot and killed in her apartment on March 13 as part of a narcotics investigation.
The officers say they announced their presence, then forced their way into the apartment, as WFPL’s Amina Elahi reported Friday on NPR.
“By then, she and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker who was there with her that night were scared. And Kenneth Walker says he fired a warning shot at the police because he thought some intruder was breaking in,” Elahi reported.
“The police fired back, more than 20 shots and eight of them struck Breonna Taylor and killed her,” she added.
The unrest in Louisville happened on the same night that protests escalated in Minneapolis, as demonstrators called for justice over the death of George Floyd.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that Louisville Councilwoman Keisha Dorsey, who watched as the city streets filled with protesters, said that what happened was “not a riot.”
“It’s a revolt against a system in which people have felt oppressed,” said Dorsey. “What I’m seeing is people who are trying their best to do something with their hurt, their pain and their frustration.”
Violence in Louisville took place despite calls from the Taylor family to keep protests peaceful.
“We are so grateful for everyone giving Bre a voice tonight, for saying her name, for demanding truth, for demanding justice and for demanding accountability,” Taylor’s sister Juniyah Palmer posted to Facebook on Thursday.
She added: “We demand change. We demand reform. But we do not need for our community to get hurt. We need for our community to get justice.”