LOUISVILLE — Before two police officers were reported shot, a crowd of protesters had amassed at Jefferson Square Park, the site of months-long demonstrations sparked by Taylor’s death, where they chanted and listened to speeches by organizers.
Around 7:45 p.m., after several small fires were set in trash cans, police declared the gathering an “unlawful assembly” and threatened to use chemical agents if protesters refused to clear the park.
Heeding the warning, several hundred protesters marched south, chanting, “Say her name!” and “Breonna Taylor!” as they wove through downtown Louisville.
Jordan Lawson, a 29-year-old civil engineering student at the University of Louisville, said he took a break from studying to march with his sister. He said friends and family had been victims of police aggression.
“To me, in my heart, it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “We need to let them know this is not okay.”
Eventually, the crowd turned up Brook Street and started heading north again, walking parallel to Interstate 65.
Ahead, a line of police vehicles blocked the intersection at Broadway, halting the march and causing the crowd to thicken. Someone could be heard shouting, “Y’all do what you want to do. Y’all are free!”
Without warning, at 8:29 p.m., police fired at least a pair of flash-bangs at the protesters.
A split second later, gunfire erupted. At least four shots rang out near the intersection, sending the crowd scrambling for safety.
Several armored vehicles sped to the scene, lights flashing. About 10 officers with wooden batons and riot gear sprung out and attempted to clear the crowd, yelling, “Move! Move! Move!”
The protesters dispersed in all directions. By the time police reported that an officer had been hit, the crowd had thinned completely. Police had the area roped off for blocks, and few people remained in the streets.
Police said officers were wounded responding to shots fired in the area of a large crowd.