Suspect Identified in Shooting of 2 Louisville Officers Amid Unrest

September 24, 2020 Updated: September 25, 2020

One suspect is in custody after two Louisville Metro police officers were shot on the night of Sept. 23 following an announcement related to the death of Breonna Taylor.

Authorities identified the suspect as 26-year-old Larynzo Johnson. He was charged with wanton endangerment and assault of a police officer, according to WLKY.

The shooting occurred after 8:30 p.m., when officers were told about a crowd gathering at South Brook and East College streets. Police chief Rob Schroeder said officers were deployed after reports of shots fired, and when they arrived, gunfire erupted and two officers were injured.

“I’m very concerned about the safety of our officers tonight. Obviously, we’ve had two officers shot tonight. That is a very serious and a very dangerous condition. I think the safety of our officers and of the community we serve is of the uppermost importance,” Schroeder said.

Schroeder told the outlet that one of the officers is in stable condition while the other was undergoing surgery in a nearby hospital. The names of the officers weren’t released.

The shooting drew widespread condemnation from elected officials, including President Donald Trump.

louisville officer shot
Police stand at an intersection after an officer was shot, in Louisville, Ky., on Sept. 23, 2020. (John Minchillo/AP Photo)

“Praying for the two police officers that were shot tonight in Louisville, Kentucky. The Federal Government stands behind you and is ready to help. Spoke to @GovAndyBeshear and we are prepared to work together, immediately upon request!” he wrote on Twitter.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, released a statement calling on demonstrators to go home. “I’m asking everybody, please go home, go home tonight,” he said. “There will be many times over the coming days where there will be an opportunity to be heard, and so many people are listening right now.”

Additionally, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said protesters should return home.

“If you want to protest, please return during the daylight to peaceably protest. Violence does not get us one step closer to a fair, just, and equitable Louisville,” he said in a statement. “Our hearts go out tonight to the two officers who were shot.”

Democrat presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden denounced the violence in a Sept. 23 tweet.

“Even amidst the profound grief & anger today’s decision generated, violence is never & can never be the answer,” he said. “Those who engage in it must be held accountable. Jill & I are keeping the officers shot tonight in Louisville in our prayers. We wish them both a swift & full recovery.”

The FBI, meanwhile, said it’s investigating, and assisting local police.

The Louisville Police Department confirmed that 127 people were arrested Sept. 23.

The unrest came after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that a former Louisville officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with wanton endangerment after he allegedly fired shots into Taylor’s neighbor’s apartment.

Taylor was killed on March 13 when Louisville police officers executed a search warrant on her apartment. They knocked and announced themselves and, when nobody answered, broke inside. They were met in the hallway by Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who had his gun drawn, according to Cameron. Walker shot one of the officers in the leg, upon which the officers returned fire, killing Taylor. Hankison was not the officer who hit Taylor.

Taylor’s death was cited as one of the most common reasons for protests against police in cities across the country, together with the death of George Floyd during his arrests in Minneapolis in May. Since then, thousands of protests have erupted, hundreds turning violent. Typically, the protests stay peaceful during the day but turn violent at night.

The shooting of the two officers comes about two weeks after two Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deputies were shot in an ambush attack. A suspect in the case is still at large.

Petr Svab contributed to this report.