Authorities Arrest Frequent Protester Accused of Killing Louisville Photographer During Breonna Taylor Protest
Steven Lopez had many confrontations at the month-long protest and a previous arrest.
Authorities have arrested Steven Nelson Lopez, 23, for allegedly killing Louisville photographer Tyler Gerth. They charged him “with one count of murder and one count of wanton endangerment first degree.”
Louisville, KY, has seen protests for a month after the death of Breonna Taylor.
The protests have been mostly peaceful but took a deadly turn on Saturday:
Lopez, who had been camping at Jefferson Square had been asked to leave earlier in the day by other protesters for his “disruptive behavior” Mayor Greg Fischer said during a press conference Sunday afternoon.
According to an arrest report, LMPD [Louisville Metro PD] officers notified MetroSafe of multiple gunshots fired in Jefferson Square Park around 8:59 p.m. Officers responded on scene at this time to find a victim suffering from an apparent gunshot wound.
The victim was found unresponsive lying in the middle of the park near a concrete wall.
Lopez, according to the report, was seen shooting a firearm into a large crowd of people at the park. The gunfire struck the victim, later revealed by the coroner as Tyler Gerth.
Gerth was shot in the head and pronounced dead on scene by officers.
Lopez was identified by multiple witnesses at the scene, and observed in video surveillance shooting the handgun into the crowd, where according to police, he was showing “extreme indifference to the value of human life and creating a substantial danger of death or serious injury to others.”
While the suspect shot into the crowd, other bystanders returned fire to protect their life and the lives of others. Lopez sustained a non-serious injury from a gunshot wound to the leg during the crossfire.
Lopez was taken into custody on scene without further incident and transported to the hospital.
Maxwell Mitchell, another protester, said that “Lopez fired at least two shots into the air before he shot toward the encampment.” He explained that “Lopez had an altercation with another person” on Saturday, but not Gerth. He believes Lopez targeted someone else and not Gerth.
Officers arrested Lopez and 17 others on June 17. They charged him with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, harassment, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Another person said Lopez had many problems with other people in the encampment, which led to “at least three fights at the park over the course of the protests.”DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.