Police: Shooting at Waterfront Park possibly gang related

Police: Shooting at Waterfront Park possibly gang related
LMPD told us they believe the shooting at Waterfront Park on Thursday night was gang-related. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The shooting happened at the Great Lawn, but the victim was found near the Big Four Bridge. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The shooting happened at the Great Lawn, but the victim was found near the Big Four Bridge. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Friday, we found plenty of people at Waterfront Park enjoying the nice weather. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Friday, we found plenty of people at Waterfront Park enjoying the nice weather. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A controversial gang bill moved forward in Frankfort on Friday, hours after a possible gang-related shooting happened at Waterfront Park.

"I am very much in favor of the legislature looking at ways to curb the gang violence in the area," Portia Morgan, a Louisville resident and frequent visitor to the park, said.

The shooting happened just before 11 p.m. Thursday on the Great Lawn. A 19-year-old man was found shot near the new SkyStar Ferris Wheel, at the base of the Big Four Bridge.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Person shot in Waterfront Park; scene spread to Ferris wheel

Thursday night, people on the Big Four Bridge told us what they saw.

"We were just walking toward Indiana and then gunshots -- about 5 or 6 shots -- and everybody that was on the walking bridge got down on the ground," Joseph Augustine said.

A week out from Thunder Over Louisville, those booms weren't fireworks.

"It was as just terrifying, it really was," Augustine said.

Terrifying is not exactly the reaction the city is looking for from visitors to Waterfront Park.

Police said the man who was shot on the Great Lawn made it to the area near the new Ferris wheel. He was rushed to University Hospital and is expected to survive his injuries, officers told us.

"It's known that it possibly was gang involved," LMPD Spokesman Dwight Mitchell said. "We do believe that is the case."

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Morgan told us, "I think it's very sad that young people today result to gang violence to solve their problems."

We asked the mayor's office if the area is safe for the public, as people took to social media after news of the shooting broke saying they don't feel safe at Waterfront Park at night.

Jean Porter, a spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Fischer, said they feel the area is very secure because police were on top of the situation within one minute of getting the call. They believe it was an isolated incident.

On a beautiful Friday, the incident did not keep crowds away from the park. Many people told us they were surprised to hear what happened, but hope it won't keep people away.

Joe Ammerman was there with his grandson.

"I probably will be a little more cautious at night, but we come down here when the weather is nice during the day all the time," he said. "We've never had any problem at all."

Alison Carnes added: "I've been coming down since the bridge opened and I enjoy walking and I'll continue to enjoy walking down here. I think it's a great place.

A spokesman for SkyStar told us because the shooting didn't really happen near the ride, no one was affected. They were already closing the ride down for the night.

The Waterfront Development Corporation sent us the following statement:

"Waterfront Park's record over the past three decades demonstrates it is a safe venue. We host hundreds of events and millions of visitors each year without incident. We have always enjoyed a close working relationship with LMPD and Metro Government, and we will continue to collaborate with these partners to ensure Waterfront Park remains a safe and enjoyable place to visit."

Police will use bridge camera video in their investigation. No arrests have been made.

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