Searching for public records, Shelby Gazaway’s family files lawsuit against LMPD

Searching for public records, Shelby Gazaway’s family files lawsuit against LMPD

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The family of a man who was shot and killed by Louisville Metro police officers has filed a lawsuit against the department.

On Wednesday, Shelby Gazaway’s family filed a lawsuit asking LMPD to release the full investigative file in relation to his death. The paperwork claims LMPD violated the Open Records Act by not releasing documents related to Gazaway’s death.

On May 29, 2020, Gazaway’s attorney filed an open-records request, asking for:

- Any and all video footage, including surveillance, body cam, and cellphone images relating to the incidents in and around the Kroger located on North 35th Street on Nov. 7, 2019;

- Complete training, employment and disciplinary file for Patrick Norton and Alexander Dugan;

- All evidence logs relating to the Nov. 7, 2019, incident in and around the Kroger located on North 35th Street;

- All requests for and results of forensic testing of evidence collected at the scene of the above location; and

- Any and all witness statements, however documented, related to the Nov. 7, 2019, incident at the Kroger located on North 35th Street.

Semone Carter, Gazaway’s mother, told WAVE 3 News she hopes the lawsuit will help bring her family closure.

”We want to get the truth,” Carter said. “We want to get a clear understanding, and we want to know ... We’ll never know why, why they chose to do that to him. My son was just going to the grocery store for me, and you just do not know how heartbreaking that is, that when I realize I sent my son out to the store for me, he hasn’t came home. In reality, he won’t come home. Just tell me why.”

Gazaway was shot and killed by LMPD Officers Patrick Norton and Alexander Dugan as he was leaving the Kroger on 35th and Bank streets in the Portland neighborhood. LMPD was initially called to an incident around 6 p.m. on Nov. 7 on reports of shots being fired inside the store.

Witnesses told WAVE 3 News that Gazaway got into a fight with a man who pulled out a knife. Gazaway produced a gun and opened fire in the store. Police confirmed it was seen on store surveillance footage that Gazaway was wrestling with another man inside the store’s meat department.

LMPD released body camera footage of the officer-involved shooting. The video showed Norton and Dugan confront an armed suspect who was coming out of the store.

Officers said Gazaway walked out of the store and fired at them, prompting officers to return fire and kill him.

Carter said she has played the body camera video over several times since it was released.

“I don’t eat well,” Carter said. “Lord knows I don’t sleep. So yes, I do play it. I sent my son to the grocery store.”

Carter told WAVE 3 News she still wants to see evidence of her son pulling the trigger.

“As you saw Shelby was walking forward ... away,” Carter said. “Walking, not running, to where officers were on Shelby’s side and at his back. So for them to tell us that Shelby came out shooting, I’m sorry, I don’t believe it. So prove it to me. Show me the tapes.”

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