Police, mayor denounce violence after two shot near Pegasus Parade route
6:30 p.m. shooting occurred on South Fourth Street, north of West Broadway, less than a block north of the Pegasus Parade route.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A double shooting less than a block from the Pegasus Parade route ends with two teenagers wounded, two more arrested and the city's mayor and police chief decrying the violence.
The victims, a 17-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl, each received "non-life threatening injuries" and were taken to hospitals for treatment, Louisville Metro Police chief Steve Conrad said Thursday night.
Two juveniles were arrested and charged with assault, tampering with evidence, possession of a handgun by a minor and receiving stolen property, according to Louisville Metro Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley.
The shooting happened about 6:30 p.m. on South Fourth Street, north of West Broadway. The Kentucky Derby Festival Pegasus Parade was underway on Broadway as spectators watched from the sidewalks.
Witnesses told WDRB News they recognized the gunshots and tried to take cover. The corner of Fourth and Broadway is one of the prime viewing locations for the parade.
"This frightened many, many people. You had women, men and kids frightened by what occurred, and I don't blame them," Conrad said.
Police in the area responded quickly and arrested two 15-year-old boys. There was no immediate word on what charges they face.
In a news conference, Conrad said police had no information on a motive, but they did believe it was not a random act of violence. The two suspects and the 17-year-old boy knew each other; the 14-year-old girl appeared to be a bystander, Conrad said.
"You had two kids shooting around without any fear, without any concern," Conrad told reporters. "You have to ask yourself 'What was happening in their lives that they would pull out guns in a crowd like this.'"
The Pegasus parade continued as police worked the scene less than half a block away. Conrad said officers were able to control the shooting scene without stopping the parade. "Had this happened in the middle of Broadway, we would have had cause to stop the [parade]."
Mayor Greg Fischer praised the police response, called Louisville "a safe city," and said Oaks and Derby activities would go on as scheduled.
Police said the parade, in its 61st year, has never seen a shooting as it was underway.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said on Twitter concerning the shooting, "Sad that a beautiful day at the Pegasus Parade was marred by senseless violence. Thank God all will live, but when will we wake up and stop this?"
The Kentucky Derby Festival sent out the following statement late Thursday night:
“The Pegasus Parade is the festival's oldest and inaugural event, and one that families have enjoyed for 61 years -- and we want them to continue to do so.
We are saddened that patrons at our event were injured – and frustrated that dozens of others were frightened. Our heart goes out to all those who have been affected.
Safety is always our first priority. Working with law enforcement and other public safety partners, we take extraordinary measures to make our events secure. LMPD was there in force at the Parade. They responded within seconds. We were ultimately informed that the situation was under control, the suspects were in custody and the threat was removed. Working in conjunction with LMPD – it was deemed safe to continue the Parade down the route.
The Festival has safety procedures and detailed Emergency Action Plans for every major event – as the Pegasus Parade is one of the largest, it is no different. Those plans were put into action tonight and allowed the Festival to respond swiftly, and the Parade to continue to conclusion.
The Festival has safety procedures and detailed Emergency Action Plans for every major event -- as the Pegasus Parade is one of the largest, it is no different. Those plans were put into action tonight which allowed the Festival to respond swiftly and the Parade to continue to conclusion.”
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