LMPD: Tents, overnight stays prohibited at Jefferson Square Park; suspect in fatal shooting in custody
Protestors will no longer be allowed to camp overnight in Jefferson Square Park after a man was shot and killed and a second person was wounded.
The park was cleared by police officers following the shooting that happened around 9 p.m. Saturday, according to Louisville Metro Police Department spokesman Lamont Washington.
A man, identified by the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office as Tyler Gerth, 27, was pronounced dead inside the park. A second shooting victim was taken to University of Louisville Hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening.
On Sunday morning, Washington said peaceful gatherings could continue during the day but tents and overnight stays would be prohibited.
“We continue to support the peaceful exercise of free speech. However, our primary focus must be on public safety,” Washington said.
During a press conference Sunday afternoon, Chief of Public Services Amy Hess said no camping signs had been posted in the park before the protests but officials were trying to balance First Amendment rights. She stated once camping became a public safety concern the decision to enforce the city ordinance was made.
LMPD interim chief Robert Schroeder said if someone tries to set up a tent officers will instruct them to take it down and if the person persists they could be charged.
Metro Public Works employees were worked on packing up the tents and securing belongings Sunday morning. Washington said those items would be available to pickup at 600 Meriwether Avenue later on Sunday but a time has not been released.
The LMPD Homicide Unit is continuing to investigate the shooting. Mayor Greg Fischer said police did have a suspect in custody at an area hospital. The suspect’s name has not been released. Schroeder said the suspect had been asked to leave the park repeatedly by other members in the park due to his disruptive behavior.
Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the anonymous police tip line at (502) 574-LMPD.