Officer involved in shooting identified, teenager in custody - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Officer involved in shooting identified, teenager in custody

Major Ozzy Gibson Major Ozzy Gibson
Louisville, KY -

By Katie Bauer - email | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – On the night of Dec. 7, Louisville Metro Police Officer Kevin Speaks was shot while responding to a call in Portland. Speaks was rushed into surgery and he is recovering at University Hospital. Early Wednesday, police arrested a man they believe is responsible - 19-year-old Danta Watts, Jr.

Metro Police believe Watts was walking the streets, carrying a gun near 31st and Portland around 9:30 Tuesday night.

"I saw my next door neighbor and I called her over to see what was going on, she said there was a little boy that ran," said Sheronda Mack, who lives nearby. "He had a gun in his hand. He looked at her and kept running."

Speaks and Officer Jeffrey Lauder were working in the area in an unmarked car and wearing plain clothes when they approached the man with the gun.

"When they got out to engage him, that's when the shots were exchanged," said Major Ozzy Gibson about the shot.

Officer Speaks was hit.

"He did have a vest on, but it actually went underneath the vest in the lower rear in the back," said Gibson.

Both officers fired rounds back at the suspect.

"The individual was not struck," said Metro Police Chief Robert White. "He fled, but he was apprehended two blocks later. An arrest was made and the gun was recovered."

Watts has been charged with two counts of criminal attempted murder of a police officer. Tuesday night, dozens of fellow officers came to University Hospital to show their support.

"Family members of other officers have called several times to check on his status, so there is a great deal of people watching, waiting, and praying, and hoping for a good outcome," said Eric Johnson with Supporting Heroes. 

"Good Lord willing, per the doctors, he is going to make a full recovery," said Gibson.

Gibson says those in uniform understand the risks of their job.

"All officers are aware of the dangers when you decide to take this up as your career," said Gibson. "The best thing that happens to us is the training we have is phenomenal."

Gibson describes both the officers as outstanding. As standard practice, both Speaks and Lauder have been placed on paid administrative leave while an internal investigation is conducted.

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