Gunmen exchanged about 20 shots at a Thanksgiving Day youth football event, thrusting Louisville past its homicide record and into the national spotlight, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. Two men were killed and four more people were wounded during the brazen violence, which broke out 200 yards away from Mayor Greg Fischer. During this record-breaking year for homicides in Louisville’s Jefferson County, police and the mayor’s office have announced both short-term and long-term initiatives intended to curb the violence.
Louisville is now in its second year of rising homicides, seeing 80 last year and 112 to date this year, up from an average of around 60 per year since county and city law enforcement combined in 2003. In the police department, the homicide unit began investigating all shootings, including nonfatal shootings previously handled at a lower level. The narcotics division underwent a controversial centralization, and the SWAT Division became full-time with 20 officers. Shootings have increased 140 percent this year. The city investing in technology that pinpoints shootings, allowing police to respond to gunfire without relying on witnesses calling 911. Police Chief Steve Conrad started “peace walks” amid the rise in homicides and shootings and a time of heightened tensions between law enforcement and some residents. Mayor Fischer plans to hire 28 more police officers this fiscal year, which he said would create the largest recruit class ever. of 150 recruits. A new hospital-based initiative called Pivot 2 Peace targets 18- to 24-year-olds, attempting to quell thirst for retaliation in the moments after shootings and stabbings and offer resources to help guide young adults onto a path of nonviolence.