5 years later: A look back at one of Louisville's most violent days

Updated: May. 17, 2017 at 8:07 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Many in the community will never forget the chaotic scene in the parkland neighborhood on May 17, 2012.

Shots ringing out in the middle of a murder investigation near 32nd and Kentucky. Six people were shot and three were killed.

WAVE 3 News wanted to know what has changed in the past five years. Pastor Vincent James of Elim Baptist Church was at the scene five years ago. His church sits at the corner of 32nd and Greenwood Avenue.

"We heard gunshots like 3 gunshots and there were several back and forth," Pastor James said. "I immediately ran out of my office saw a group of kids that were in a panic mode and young men laying on the ground."

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Pastor James remembers it like it was yesterday.
"Just a horrific scene," Pastor James said.
On the afternoon of May 17, 2012, two men died in a fatal shootout on South 32nd Street. They were Craig Bland Jr., 22, and Tyson Mimms, 24. As multiple police officers investigated and crowds of people gathered, a second brazen shooting happened yards away.
WAVE 3 News Photojournalist James Thomas was there.
"Hard to believe it's been five years," Thomas said.
In his 37 years as a photographer, Thomas said that day was by far the scariest of his career.
"You hear pop pop," said Thomas. "I was completely taken by surprise, it sounded like firecrackers."
Makeba Lee, 24, died. The woman who murdered her, Cheetara Goldsmith, was shot by a Louisville Metro Police officer.

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The shootings heightened attention to violence in west Louisville.

"Quite a bit has changed," said Pastor James.

The Violence Prevention Task Force was created, which then led to the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. Pastor James is part of that group.

James said some of the properties in the area are getting ready to be sold and renovated, and abandoned properties are becoming less of an eye sore. What has also helped is that The Boys and Girls Club is now open.

People who live at 32nd and Greenwood said more needs to be done. They still hear gunfire around the clock.

"They got a lot of police down here now," said Parkland resident Marsha Yates. "They still need more structure and I think people can come together and do that."

>> VIDEO: Watch Maira's report

Cheetara Goldsmith accepted a plea deal for 25 years in prison for killing Makeba Lee.

Police are still investigating who is responsible for the shootings that killed and injured the others involved.

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