LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - LMPD officials on Tuesday released new surveillance video that they said shows David McAtee firing a gun before he was shot dead by law enforcement officers.
Two videos -- one from McAtee’s YaYa’s BBQ Shack and another from an adjacent business -- were released during a news conference led by Mayor Greg Fischer on Tuesday.
“This is going to be difficult," Fischer said at the beginning of the news conference, acknowledging how popular McAtee was in his community and even with the many police officers whom he regularly served his barbecue.
Fischer, LMPD Interim Chief Rob Schroeder and Maj. Paul Humphrey all said the investigation into Monday’s shooting is still in the early stages and that many questions remain unanswered. But Humphrey said so far it looks like McAtee fired first.
“That’s what it appears at this point,” he said. “Mr. McAtee appears to fire at the officers and they take cover and return fire, but without audio ... that is yet to be determined.”
J. Michael Brown, secretary of Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive cabinet, said Tuesday that McAtee was shot once in the chest, adding that LMPD and National Guard officers fired a total of 18 shots during the incident. A search of McAtee’s property yielded seven weapons -- six handguns and one shotgun -- Brown said.
Fischer said he had met with McAtee’s mother Tuesday morning to show her the video before releasing it to the public.
“This is a difficult piece of the story to process, but I believe in transparency,” Fischer said.
LMPD and National Guard officers were called to that area, near 26th and Broadway, at about 12:15 a.m. Monday to disperse a crowd, the department said. LMPD officials said somebody fired a shot at the officers, and when officers fired back, they shot and killed McAtee. His family members said his niece also was struck by gunfire, but added that she’s OK.
“This video does not provide all the answers, but we are releasing it to provide transparency,” Schroeder said.
Metro Council President David James was in the WAVE 3 News studios when the videos were released.
“The video is only a part of what’s happening there,” said James, who knew McAtee well, and broke down in tears during a news conference Monday when he talked about his friend. “I would encourage everyone to understand that that is just a snapshot at that moment.”
James also said the investigation will be more difficult without any officer body-camera video.
“The fact, though, that all those police officers were there and nobody had a body cam on is absolutely astonishing to me, and I’m wondering what the police department will do to enforce discipline to make sure that takes place,” he said.
The absence of officer body-camera video seemed to be the last straw for embattled LMPD Chief Steve Conrad. Last month, he announced he would retire this month, but Fischer fired him Monday, calling Conrad’s recent department oversight an “institutional failure.”
The President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Ryan Nichols, said the video does provide some facts, like McAtee firing first and in the direction of law enforcement. He added the videos also show McAtee was armed, contrary to previous reports that he was not.
“This video does not answer every question, as no video does,” Nichols said. “So the investigation needs to continue and the video can help provide some of the facts.”