‘Please do something.’ Louisville community holds vigil for victims of mass shooting


Abbey Cutrer

People bow their heads in prayer during the community vigil honoring the victims of the Louisville mass shooting on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at the Muhammad Ali Center plaza in Louisville, Kentucky. Kentucky Lantern photo by Abbey Cutrer

Alexis Baker, Staff Reporter

Members of the Louisville, Kentucky, community gathered for a vigil on Wednesday, April 12, at the Muhammad Ali Center to grieve the lives lost in a mass shooting earlier this week.

According to the Courier-Journal, a man opened fire at around 8:30 a.m. inside Old National Bank, resulting in the deaths of six people, including the 25-year-old shooter, Connor Sturgeon, and injuries to several others.

The Courier-Journal said that the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) responded within about three minutes, and it took about nine minutes in total for officers to kill Sturgeon, an employee of the bank, after they arrived.

The city organized the vigil consisting of 13 speakers who reflected on the lost lives, gun restriction and heroic actions of the first responders in the midst of the shooting. 

Attendees of all ages, alongside prominent members of Kentucky and the City of Louisville, filled the stone seating and surrounding standing room outside the Ali Center. 

Muhammad Babar, a community leader, received a standing ovation from the audience as he called the leaders of the nation to act on gun control. 

“Today I just want to plead you all and the leaders of our great nation that it does not matter whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, whether you live in other places or communities, whether you own a gun or not, please do something, because we all just want this epidemic of death to end,” Babar said. 

Emotions were also high in the crowd, especially for those who had personal connections to the victims of the shooting.

When Governor Andy Beshear addressed the crowd he said, “I lost one of my best friends on Monday.” 

Beshear said that others survived, including friends of his, because the LMPD got there in about three minutes.

“By now, if you can, and I struggled, maybe watch that bodycam footage that shows these heroes rushing directly in without pause, without regards to their own safety because they knew lives were on the line. Heroes like LMPD officer Nickolas Wilt who is fighting for his very life … Officers like CJ Galloway who after being hit himself stayed until the entire scene was secure,” Beshear said. 

Babs Clark, 68, worked in the banking industry with one of the victims, James Tutt. 

Clark said that she remembers Tutt as a caring, compassionate person. 

“He loved his job, he loved his family. It just hurts to know that his life and so many others was cut short,” Clark said. “He was this close to retirement when he could have stopped and smelled the roses, spent time with his beloved family and his grandkids, and he will never get the opportunity to do that. It’s just sad.”

Shannon Motley, 53, a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said she lost her son to gun violence 10 years ago, and still asks herself, “Why, why, why” when she sees another mother has to go through what she did. 

According to the organization’s website, “Moms Demand Action is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.”

“We’re trying to get rid of the guns; we’re trying to make sure that we’re here to support not just the ones (that are) lost but the ones (that have) got to still deal with it,” Motley said.