Questions remain after mass shooting at downtown Louisville restaurant

LMPD and Louisville Metro says Southern Restaurant and Lounge should not have been open prior to Sunday morning's shooting.
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 12:30 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The aftermath of Sunday morning’s mass shooting has left people questioning how this happened again and what can be done to prevent it.

One of the biggest questions that remain is, “How was Southern Restaurant and Lounge even open?”

According to LMPD and the Mayor’s Office, they were told the business was sold and shut down for more than a month. However, a final gathering before changing locations turned into tragedy for six people and this community.

“It happened again,” Louisville resident David Wilding said. “It happened again. More death, more destruction, more devastation of families and community.”

Before April 10th, 2023 Louisville’s only mass shooting took place in 1989.

Now, the shooting at Southern Restaurant and Lounge that took the lives of two people and left four others injured early Sunday morning has left Louisville sitting at three mass shootings in 2023 alone.

Mayor Craig Greenberg said that this trend has to be stopped.

“We must do more,” Greenberg said. “We can’t keep doing things the same way as they are and expect that gun violence in our city will go away. Our administration is not doing things the same way, and we’re calling on others to do the same.”

One change Mayor Greenberg said he wants to focus on is ensuring businesses are following the rules of the law and are under code.

A rule of thumb that Southern Restaurant and Lounge didn’t seem to administer.

“You’ve heard it said that this was a restaurant,” Deputy Mayor David James said. “Part of the conversation is, is it really a restaurant or is it a bar? And so I would say that it’s a restaurant, but it’s really a bar. They would say it’s a restaurant.”

Regardless of what it is, the city says it shouldn’t have been open.

Deputy Mayor James said this business has received the full attention of Louisville Metro in all ways and also said they even failed a health inspection due to a lack of refrigeration.

LMPD increased security and several check-ins were made until Southern told Louisville Metro they were closing their doors for good at that location.

That’s until the business promoted a “last rodeo” where hundreds were in attendance and at around 3 a.m. shots rang out.

Now, discussions are being held to limit all businesses to close at 2 a.m. instead of 4 a.m.

“Let’s have those conversations, let’s talk about it seriously and determine how we move forward because we must do more to address our gun violence epidemic,” exclaimed Mayor Greenberg.

A vigil was held Sunday evening at Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church to make a call for action to their elected officials to match their words with actions.

“That’s our hope that we can just get sensible,” Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church’s Soni Castleberry said. “Just get sensible about this issue so that we don’t just keep having countless murders and murders and murders.”

As of Sunday, Aug. 27th, LMPD says they have no leads on any suspects.

Officials said there were 200 to 300 people at the scene when shots rang out, and they’re asking anyone with any information to call 574-LMPD so they can solve this case.