LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Police don’t want your vehicle or gun used in the metro’s next homicide or shooting. That’s why the department has issued an urgent call to the community to keep their cars locked up, which could combat recent trends of violence.
“I’m here today to plea for your help,” Lt. Emily McKinley, commander of LMPD’s Homicide Unit, said while opening up Thursday’s press conference. “Our officers, detectives and community members have been overwhelmed with the violence that has occurred over the last few weeks.”
So far this year, LMPD has received reports of 47 homicides and 113 shootings. Last year at this time, there were 39 homicides and 135 shootings, according to McKinley.
Many of the recent reports have been drive-by shootings, according to McKinley, perpetrated by stolen vehicles and occupied by young adults and juvenile suspects. The vehicles were stolen from nearly every neighborhood in the community and in some cases, the weapons used in the shootings were found inside of the vehicles.
That was the case with a shooting on Sunday in the 700 block of Roselane Court. Shots were fired from a vehicle driving by, according to police, striking a man walking on the street. Though his name hasn’t been released, McKinley said he was a young father who had just returned from visiting his newborn twins at the hospital. He’s now fighting for his life at University Hospital, last listed in critical condition.
As a result of police work, the vehicle was located later that evening and police found three suspects. Police said they were 14, 15 and 17 years old, though their names have not been released due to their age.
“They were all armed and they were eventually arrested for that shooting,” McKinley said.
Whether this incident, or others, were random is still under investigation, though McKinley said they don’t currently have a reason why anyone would target him.
More shootings followed, many of which police believe involve stolen vehicles. McKinley referenced a shooting early Tuesday in a liquor store parking lot at 13th & Hill where three people were injured. Police said the vehicles which were stolen were unlocked, left running or taken with the keys in the vehicle. Several cars also contained unsecured guns, according to McKinley.
“We want to emphasize the importance of locking your cars, securing your weapons and being aware of your surroundings,” McKinley said. “We’ve done this several times through PSAs and on social media posts, but we’re still seeing these things happen.”
Additionally, McKinley advised parents to be aware of what teens are posting on social media. If posts contain guns, gangs, threats or drugs, parents should take them as seriously as police do. When shooting occur, LMPD reviews the social media accounts of the suspects. Sometimes they uncover posts alluding to gangs or criminal activity, according to McKinley.
McKinley suggested many juveniles don’t have an outlet for their frustrations, which could lead them to pick up a gun.
“I do not want to notify another parent of the murder of their son or their daughter,” McKinley said.
LMPD is continuing to investigate a number of shootings in the metro, though community members have been urged to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Anyone with information on any of the incidents can call the LMPD Anonymous Tip Line at 574-LMPD.