City works to restore public confidence following holiday homicide

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The day after a series of shootings left one man dead and others injured, a highly visible police presence at the Big Four Bridge in Louisville proved to be a reassuring sight to visitors.

Linda Lortz celebrated her birthday by walking across the bridge and said seeing police there was comforting.

"Four policemen were walking across the bridge and they walked back in front of us, " Lortz said. "I felt really safe when I saw them at the beginning of our walk."

At noon, there were nine police vehicles in the public parking lot at the base of the bridge's pedestrian ramp.

Owen Cunningham said he still had second thoughts about visiting the bridge with his wife and grandchildren.

"We know they put up new security cameras and all that and there is a large police presence down here," he said. "But if something like that still happens, it makes you wonder, it really does."

City officials said they hope to prevent any lasting damage to public confidence.  Waterfront Development Corporation President David Karem said he wants the public to know that the location was not the problem in Monday's shooting.

"You just have to send a message that it's a safe place," Karem said. "And that these kinds of events, my perception is, these kinds of events are not locational based."

Karem said he's not downplaying what happened when he calls the shooting an anomaly.

"What we need to be doing as a community is figuring out what's in the minds of these kids that are doing these violent acts," he said. "Because
it's mostly young people."

On Tuesday, stage crews prepared for the Waterfront Wednesday concert. Organizers were expecting their biggest crowd of the season with the band called The Mavericks scheduled to headline the event. Wednesday's live performance has now become the first test of the public's confidence in safety at riverfront venues.

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WFPK Program Director Stacy Owen said everyone will concentrate on producing an enjoyable, family-friendly show and not the size of the crowd.

"It will be interesting to see if (the shooting) has any effect," Owen said. "But my main goal is to just make sure everyone who does come out has a really great time."

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