LMPD Chief: Teens at Big 4 Bridge had gathered to remember TARC stabbing victim
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Community leaders and city officials are trying to make sure that an outbreak of violence similar to what occurred this past weekend doesn't happen again.
Police responded to several assaults and robberies throughout downtown Saturday night. LMPD Chief Steve Conrad says 10 people were attacked by teens who gathered to remember a stabbing victim.
"We take this personal. We are going to hold people accountable for their behaviors," said Conrad.
City officials promise a larger police presence downtown and at Waterfront Park. This weekend there will be a big convention in town and baseball games. "We don't expect any type of problem. People are more comfortable when police are around," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.
Police are reviewing surveillance videos and taking tips after Saturday's violence that started after police dispersed the crowd at the bridge involving a mob of around 200 teens that attacked and robbed people at Waterfront Park. Many of those in the crowd also stormed Bader's Food Mart on South First Street, assaulting the clerk as he tried to lock the doors.
Conrad says investigators have learned the teens originally gathered at the bridge to remember TARC stabbing victim Me'Quale Offutt.
"People came together at the park to remember Me'Quale," Conrad said during the meeting Tuesday organized by the group ManUp. "I do not believe -- and based on what we were able to see on social media that we looked at, public postings -- that there was any information that we were going to come to the park to cause damage, that we were going to come to the park to rob people, or come to the park to assault people."
A spokesperson for Me'Quale Offutt's family tells WDRB the family's event to remember the 14-year-old happened Friday and without incident.
While the investigation continues into who's to blame for Saturday night, police say to tackle big picture problem, they need help. City officials say they already have a broad community response in place to respond to these types of incidents-- like the Safe and Healthy Community team.
"We have young people who are out of control and we've got to deal with that. This is not a race issue, this is a problem with the young people in the community," said the Mayor's Chief Community Builder Sadiqa Reynolds.
Efforts from community leaders in coming weeks will include visiting spots around town where large groups of kids come together. "When kids gather there we want to be there and then start putting in some positive reinforcements there and connect them with mentors," said Safe Neighborhoods Director Anthony Smith.
There are also community meetings planned in West Louisville Thursday to talk to teens about violence and what happened over the weekend, Reynolds says.
- Downtown business owner says violent teen mobs not uncommon
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- Louisville man claims mob of teens attacked him day before downtown riots
- LMPD investigating string of attacks in downtown Louisville
- Suspect charged with murder after 14-year-old TARC stabbing victim dies
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