A shooting in Louisville, Kentucky, has left at least four people dead and about nine others wounded, according to reports. The suspect is also dead.
Police in Louisville were called to the Old National Bank after reports of gunfire inside the building. Metro police department deputy chief Paul Humphrey told a news conference that officers exchanged fire with the shooter at the scene. It was not clear if the shooter, armed with a semiautomatic rifle according to CNN, killed himself or was killed by police.
The AP news agency reported that one of the wounded is a police officer, who is in critical condition at the University of Louisville Hospital. The shooting is the 15th mass killing in the US this year, and comes two weeks after a former student killed three children and three adults at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee.
Humphrey told the news conference that he understood the gunman was most likely a former employee of the bank. He said: "We believe this is a lone gunman involved in this that did have a connection to the bank. We're trying to establish what that connection was to the business, but it appears he was a previous employee."
Two of the deceased are friends of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (pictured). Close to tears, he told reporters: "This is awful. I have a very close friend who didn't make it today. And I have another close friend who didn't, either. And one who's at the hospital that I hope is going to make it through."
It is the second time that Beshear has been personally touched by a mass tragedy since becoming governor. In late 2021, one of the towns devastated by tornadoes that tore through Kentucky was Dawson Springs, the hometown of Beshear's father.
At the Old National Bank, crime scene investigators could be seen marking and photographing numerous bullet holes in the windows near the bank's front door.
A man who fled the building during the shooting told the broadcaster WHAS-TV that the shooter opened fire with a long rifle in a conference room at the back of the building's first floor. "Whoever was next to me got shot - blood is on me from it," the man told the news station. He said he fled to another room and shut the door.
According to the Reuters news reports Humphrey said the actions of responding police officers undoubtedly saved lives. "This is a tragic event," he said. "But it was it was the heroic response of officers that made sure that no more people were more seriously injured than what happened."
In response to Monday's attack, President Joe Biden repeated his call for Congress to pass legislation for tighter gun control. He said in a statement: "How many more Americans must die before Republicans in Congress will act to protect our communities."
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