LMPD officer shoots suspect near downtown smoke shop

Louisville, KY - Posted by Mike Dever - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Louisville Metro Police are investigating after an officer shot a suspect in the parking lot of a downtown business late Thursday afternoon. It happened just after 4:30 behind Kremer's Smoke Shoppe at 401 E. Jefferson Street near Preston.

Initial reports indicated there may have been a robbery at McDonald's on Market Street, which is less than a block away behind Kramer's, but that turned out to be untrue.

According to Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert White, the incident started when an attempted carjacking was reported at Preston and Liberty. White says there were two women in the car when the suspect, described as a Hispanic male, threatened them with a gun and forced his way into their vehicle.

"He pointed the gun towards the victims of the carjacking," White said. "They in turn called the police."

At some point, the suspect got out of the car and ran toward Jefferson and Preston.

White says a male and female officer cornered the man in the parking lot of Kremer's Smoke Shoppe. White says the male officer fired several shots when the suspect refused to drop his gun.

"[They] ordered him to drop his handgun, which he did not," White said. "In fact, he raised it towards one of the officers, at which time that officer fired several shots, striking him."

Kentrina Rice was watching children on the playground across the street when she heard the shots, "All of the sudden you just heard like five or six rounds going and then police were just circling the building."

Jeffrey Cornman, a regular customer at Kremer's was walking toward the business at the time of the shooting, " I was on my way down the street here and there was an individual that had run by yelling that there were shots fired!"

He said of the violence Thursday afternoon, " It's quite unfortunate that we have these things happen in the city of Louisville but, times are really bad economically for everybody and there's many desperate people out there."

The suspect was struck at least once and taken to University Hospital. Police say they do not believe his injuries are life-threatening. Police have not released the name of the suspect of officers involved. That information is expected to be available on Friday.

White says the two officers involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure anytime an officer fires his weapon. White says he believes the officers acted appropriately.

Police blocked nearby streets while interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence after the shooting, meaning Louisville Bats fans on their way to see a playoff game scheduled for 6 o'clock at Louisville Slugger Field had to find alternate routes to the ballpark.

Copyright 2010 WAVE News. All rights reserved.