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LMPD looking for Jeep with Illinois plates after teen shot dead at bus stop

16-year-old killed has been identified; 2 other students wounded in drive-by shooting in Russell neighborhood
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 8:31 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2021 at 2:45 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - One teenager was killed and two others were wounded in a drive-by shooting at a school bus stop in the Russell neighborhood Wednesday morning.

The shooting happened at Chestnut and Dr. W.J. Hodge streets around 6:20 a.m.

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The aunt and great aunt of the boy who died told WAVE 3 News his name was Tyree Smith, whom they said was a junior at Eastern High School. He was 16 years old.

“A teen who should be in school today will not be there, and will never be there again,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said at a news conference just after 11 a.m., adding that the boy is the city’s 145th homicide victim of the year.

Just before noon Wednesday, LMPD tweeted a photo of a gray Jeep with Illinois license plate BD91644 that investigators are trying to track down in relation to the case.

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LMPD Maj. Shannon Lauder said the initial investigation shows a vehicle drove past the area where the students were standing, firing weapons before speeding away. Smith and another teen student were struck by gunfire. The third was injured by “unknown means” and declined medical attention, Lauder said.

Smith and the other teen who was shot were taken to hospitals by EMS. Smith died after reaching the hospital. LMPD said the injuries to the second teen, who is 13 years old, are not life-threatening. His identity was not immediately available.

The third injured teen, a 14-year-old girl, suffered a “graze wound,” LMPD said, and is expected to be OK.

Lauder said other students were at the bus stop at the time of the shooting, but they were not injured.

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JCPS spokeswoman Renee Murphy said the bus was picking up students from Eastern High School in Middletown. Murphy said the bus arrived at the location moments after the shooting.

Smith’s great aunt told WAVE 3 News that that bus stop had been shot up during the first week of school, but that has not been confirmed by law enforcement.

The boy’s aunt told WAVE 3 News her nephew wasn’t targeted, that he was caught in the crossfire.

“Between school and work and his mother, you in the bed by 10 o’clock,” his aunt said, noting that her nephew was a junior at Eastern.

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One student, whose bus stop is on the same block, said it was a terrifying experience.

Tay Lawson goes to Crosby Middle School. He said his mother was one of the people who ran to the students to help.

“He took his hand off and (blood) started coming though his chest again,” said Lawson, “so Mom told him to put this towel on him until the paramedic comes.”

Lawson said his heart hurts, especially for the parents of the victims.

“I feel for you and I pray for you,” he said. “I will pray for you and continue to pray for you.”

Metro Councilman Anthony Piagentini, who represents District 19, where Eastern High School is located, went to the shooting scene Wednesday morning and addressed reporters there.

“This is about as bad as it gets for it to be children,” he said. “Waiting at a bus stop, heading to school is about the lowest that this city can get.”

Piagentini called on Mayor Greg Fischer and even suggested federal help is needed to curb the city’s gun violence.

“I’ve already called on the mayor, and I’m calling on him now,” he said. “We need to call in any resources we can -- FBI, federal agents, state police, National Guard.”

At Wednesday’s news conference, LMPD Chief Erika Shields said the department already has been working with federal agencies on the city’s rise in gun violence this year, calling the FBI and ATF “phenomenal,” but noting that Wednesday’s tragedy is particularly difficult given that the victim is a teen who was waiting for his school bus.

“This one’s a hard one,” Shields said.

PLEASE SHARE | Have you seen this gray Jeep? LMPD investigators say it might be connected to this morning's deadly shooting of a child at a bus stop

Posted by WAVE 3 News on Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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