LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Candles and flowers lined the scene where Tyler Gerth, 27, was shot killed in Jefferson Square Park Saturday. A makeshift memorial roped off with safety cones honored the memory of the local photographer.
Benjamin Berry said he graduated from Trinity, the same high school as Gerth, though they were two grades apart. He and Gerth both participated in recent protests and both found themselves in Jefferson Square on Saturday.
“It’s heart breaking what happened, he should be here tonight doing his passion like he has been,” Berry said. “He’s two years younger than me, grew up in the East End just like me so it really hits close to home.”
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Jefferson Square on Sunday to remember his life in the place he died.
When protests began in May, Gerth used the power of social media to elevate the voices of those calling for justice. On Sunday, those voices came together in solidarity with Gerth’s father, Chuck, to take a knee for his son.
“He supported the cause, all the injustice with Breonna and some of the injustices throughout the world,” he said.
Chuck embraced protesters and said he was proud of the life his son lead and all that he supported.
The man accused of Saturday’s fatal shooting has been identified as Steven Nelson Lopez. He’s charged with one count of murder and one count of wanton endangerment first degree.
Tyler’s family released the following the statement.
“Tyler Gerth (27), was a beloved son, cherished little brother, adored uncle to seven nieces and nephews and a trusted friend. We are devastated that his life was taken was from us far too soon. Tyler was incredibly kind, tender hearted and generous, holding deep convictions and faith. It was this sense of justice that drove Tyler to be part of the peaceful demonstrations advocating for the destruction of the systemic racism within our society’s systems. This, combined with his passion of photography led to a strong need within him to be there, documenting the movement, capturing and communicating the messages of peace and justice. While we cannot fathom this life without our happy, inquisitive, hardworking, funny, precious Tyler, we pray that his death would be a turning point and catalyst for peace in the city he loved so much. We ask for your prayers and that the Lord would draw close in our sorrow, but we also ask that his death is not just another statistic of senseless violence. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only light can do that.”
Trinity High School President Rob Mullen released the following statement concerning Gerth’s death:
“I have known the Gerth family for a long time as our children attended St. Raphael Elementary School together. Before he enrolled at Trinity I knew Tyler as the little brother to my daughter’s friend, his sister. The Trinity Family extends its prayers to his parents, sisters, loved ones, friends and classmates. I hope they find consolation during this time of intense sorrow.”