‘Another gun violence tragedy’: 2 dead, 4 injured after shooting at Louisville restaurant

300 block of Market Street
300 block of Market Street(WAVE News)
Published: Aug. 27, 2023 at 6:39 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2023 at 10:36 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Multiple people were injured and two people are dead after a mass shooting at a restaurant in downtown Louisville.

Major Shannon Lauder said around 3 a.m., LMPD received several calls reporting multiple people shot at Southern Restaurant & Lounge at 301 West Market Street.

Officers arrived and found one man dead. WAVE News spoke to the mother of the victim, who identified him as 37-year-old Terrance Bethel.

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Terrance Bethel, 37
Terrance Bethel, 37(Family Picture)

She said her son was out with friends at Southern Restaurant & Lounge. It was the restaurant’s last night open before temporarily closing and moving to a new location, according to their social media.

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The mother said Bethel is a father and has a 10-year-old daughter.

LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell said two other men and three women were taken to the University of Louisville Hospital.

One of the men was taken to the hospital in critical condition and later died. The rest are expected to survive their injuries.

Mitchell said a seventh victim was found at Jewish Hospital. The condition of the patient is unknown. Lauder said LMPD initially believed a seventh victim was shot, but was actually injured in a fall connected to the shooting.

Mayor Craig Greenberg held a press conference Sunday afternoon, updating the community on the investigation.

“Our city has been struck by yet another gun violence tragedy,” Greenberg said.

Greenberg and city officials said there are no suspects at this time. Deputy Chief Steve Healey said hundreds of people were in the area at the time of the shooting.

Officials are asking anyone with information or who may have witnessed the shooting to report it to police.

“Let me be clear, at the time this incident occurred, there were approximately 200 to 300 people that were in the area when the shooting happened,” Healey said. “We are urging people who know what happened to speak up. Let me reiterate that. There were 200 to 300 people at that location when this shooting occurred. This is our community, we cannot do this alone. We need the public’s assistance when they see something, to say something.”

Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Bates provided a rundown of what measures had been taken at the location prior to Sunday’s shooting.

He said after a shooting on July 9 on 3rd Street involving business patrons, city officials put together a response in partnership with the Alcohol Beverage Control.

The response involved LMPD mobilizing resources, including downtown area patrol, tow trucks, the SWAT team, traffic units and rapid response team cars from every division in the patrol bureau.

Bates said that putting together those resources created a significant presence of approximately 20 police cars with emergency equipment activated and also started the nuisance abatement process.

“The fire marshal did an assessment of the restaurant’s capacity, limiting it to 105 patrons,” Bates said. “Earlier this month, on August 4 there was a detail conducted but the Southern Restaurant & Lounge did not open. We were told the business was sold effective September 1 and would not reopen. Obviously, last night they opened.”

Bates said first responders faced many challenges responding to the shooting, including the crowd of people.

He said the rapid response team had to be redirected from the bar’s location due to someone shooting at officers working in the Park Hill neighborhood.

Bates noted that street racing continues to be a problem in the area.

“We continue to have people coming in from out of town creating dangerous situations with street racing yesterday to challenge our manpower further.”

During the press conference, city officials said several complaints have been made in reference to Southern Restaurant & Lounge.

Deputy Mayor of Emergency Services David James said July 10 was when the first complaint was received about the business.

James said after receiving the complaint, Louisville Metro officials started working with ABC, LMPD, the Public Health Department, Louisville Fire and the state ABC to address the complaint.

“This particular location received the full attention of Louisville Metro in all ways,” James said. “Part of the conversation is, is it really a restaurant or is it a bar? I would say it is a restaurant, but it’s really a bar. They would say that they’re a restaurant.”

Greenberg said the city will continue working to make necessary changes in order to provide a safe environment for the community.

“We want everyone in Louisville in every neighborhood to be a place for people to gather, to celebrate, to enjoy events,” Greenberg said. “We must provide a safe atmosphere for everyone. Louisville is known around the country for its restaurants and nightlife. Most people who own and operate bars and clubs here are very responsible citizens. They follow the rules, they care about being a good neighbor. They provide safe entertainment for residents and visitors alike. But, after several incidents like this shooting that happened early this morning, it has become clear that there are several bar and club operators who are not focused on a safe environment for residents and visitors. There are some bar owners and operators who are knowingly and repeatedly flaunting our laws. This is not acceptable.”

He assured that officials would continue working to ensure that bars and restaurants operate within their capacity and within acceptable noise levels with the correct license to operate under. Greenberg also mentioned how late city bars remained open compared to other city areas.

“There are too many of these incidents happening in the middle of the night when bars and clubs are the only businesses that are still open,” he said. “So today, I’m calling on my colleagues at Metro Council to begin conversations with our administration and the community to determine whether bars in our city should stay open until 4 a.m. Or, like many other cities in America, 2 a.m. is late enough. Let’s have these conversations.”

This is the third mass shooting in Louisville so far this year. On April 10 at Old National Bank on East Main Street, five people were killed and several others were injured in a shooting, including two LMPD officers. Less than a week later on April 15, two people were killed and at least four others were injured in a shooting at Chickasaw Park.

Police said there were reports that hundreds of people were inside the park at the time of the Chickasaw Park shooting. No arrests have been made in connection to the shooting.

“We must do more to address our gun violence epidemic,” Greenberg said. “We can’t keep doing things the same way they are and expect that gun violence in our city will go away...Too many families are having to bury their loved ones, too many children are being left without mothers and fathers, lost to senseless gun violence.”

Greenberg said the landlord of the property that Southern Restaurant & Lounge is on has been working with Louisville Metro officials to terminate the lease as of August 31.

ABC administrator for Jefferson County, Brad Silveria said he has reached out to the state to terminate the restaurant’s license effective immediately. He said has also reached out the state officials and applied for an emergency suspension order.

Anyone with information regarding this case can call the anonymous tip line at (502)574-LMPD, or use the crime tip portal.

(Watch the full press conference below)