IAt a bank in the US state of Kentucky, a 25-year-old man shot himself with a rifle, killing five people and injuring eight others. According to the police, the shooter died after an exchange of fire with the police at the scene. The man was said to have been employed by the bank in Louisville.
Callers reported Monday morning that an “active attacker” had broken into the Old National Bank in downtown Louisville, police said. Officials were there “within minutes”. Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said the suspect shot the police officers. The officers returned fire and shot the 25-year-old. The two officers were injured in the exchange of fire with him. “This is a tragic event,” Humphrey said. However, the quick intervention of the police prevented further victims.
“His weapon was a rifle,” the police chief said. “The suspect streamed live.” She did not provide any information on the man’s possible motive. However, the television channel CNN reported, citing security circles, that the 25-year-old had just been told that he would lose his job.
A CNN reporter also reported that some survivors were able to escape to the vault and contact the police from there. A witness told a local TV station that he saw a man with an “assault rifle” open fire. According to the police, the victims killed are men and women between the ages of 40 and 64. A seriously injured woman died in hospital, two more of the eight injured were said to be in critical condition.
“Everyone who was next to us was hit”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, said two of the dead were close friends of his. “This is awful,” said the Democrat, fighting back tears.
Police Chief Gwinn-Villaroel said one seriously injured was a police officer who was shot in the head during the confrontation with the gunman. It is a 26-year-old man who recently completed police training. “He is in critical but stable condition,” she said.
Eyewitnesses told WHAS-TV that they heard gunshots inside the building. Police vehicles were seen in front of the house. WHAS reporters reported that people were taken away in ambulances. A man who managed to escape said on television that the attacker had started firing a rifle in a first-floor conference room. “Everyone who was next to us was hit – I have blood on me,” he said, pointing to his shirt. He fled into a break room and closed the door.
The United States has long faced massive levels of gun violence. Rampages and deadly shootouts are part of everyday life. Larger attacks of this kind regularly lead to discussions about tightening gun laws – but so far without any success. Firearms are readily available and widely circulated in the United States.
Biden calls for stricter gun laws
After Monday’s shooting, US President Joe Biden once again called for tightening of gun laws in the country. “Too many Americans are paying the price of inaction with their lives,” he said Monday. “When will Republicans in Congress act to protect our communities?”
His predecessors repeatedly failed in attempts to persuade the parliament, which was riddled with party-political rifts, to ban assault rifles and other protective measures. In order to implement them, Biden and his Democrats would have to rely on the willingness of Republicans in Congress to cooperate – but that is not in sight on this issue.
Efforts to introduce stricter gun laws have been in vain for many years – mainly because Republicans are opposed. And because the gun lobby, led by the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA), vehemently opposes any attempt to regulate gun ownership more closely.