‘No hesitation’: Former LMPD officer highlights heroism displayed during mass shooting

Dexter Pitts remembers training for an active shooter situation during his time with LMPD.
Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 1:20 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Officer Dexter Pitts has driven by the Old National Bank hundreds of times while working for LMPD’s downtown First Division.

“I heard the call come over the radio, and I’ll be honest, I thought it was a fake call,” Pitts said. “Like this has to be a prank.”

“I felt like my heart stopped because in my mind I’m also thinking, ‘Who is it? Who got shot?’” Pitts added. “Then you know, how many people are dead? How many people are wounded, and more than anything what can I do to help?”

Those were the thoughts running through Dexter Pitts’ mind Monday morning when the first alerts hit about the mass shooting that took five lives, injured several others an left an officer fighting for his life.

“The Louisville Metro Police Department has always known, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” Pitts said.

Pitts, who now works with the St. Matthews Police Department, remembers training for an active shooter situation. They would visit buildings downtown to learn about their layout.

The only thing an officer can do is rely on their training.

“There’s no hesitation,” he said. “These guys got out of their cars and went straight to the gunfire. You’ve got a rookie officer four days on the job. Did not hesitate, got out of his car and ran towards gunfire and now he’s fighting for his life because of it.”

Pitts rushed to the hospital Monday morning where officers gathered unsure if their friend was even alive.

He was also there when another call came in that morning for two people shot at Chestnut and 8th Streets. One of those victims did not survive.

“Nobody hesitated,” Pitts recalled. “Everybody ran out of the auditorium back into their police cars and back on the street to go serve the citizens of Louisville.”

The headlines have not been kind to LMPD recently, but Pitts hopes the narrative will expand to include a bigger, more objective picture.

“We know that there are some officers that are in uniform that aren’t real officers, but my God, you have to look at all the officers that responded yesterday,” Pitts said. “That’s what we should be using as a broad brush stroke to paint this police department with. LMPD, courage, bravery. We saw it on display.”

“I want the public to know how much your officers love you in this city, because you don’t run into danger for people that you don’t love, that simple,” Pitts added. “These officers love you. Regardless of how you feel about them, no matter what you say to them, no matter what you do to them, you can curse them out, name their momma, call them any name in the book, guess what, you call 911, they’re going to come. They’re going to be there.”

Pitts has written a book, I am Pitts, Memoirs of an American Patriot about his experience in law enforcement.

He also hosts a podcast titled, “I am Pitts” that can be found here.