LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — In three separate incidents, four teenagers were shot in the Shawnee neighborhood in the last week. Three of the victims are dead.
Louisville Metro Police officers were called to shooting scene in the 200 block of Cecil Avenue — not far from South 41st Street and West Market Street — around 8:50 p.m. A male and female teenager were found shot. The female died.
Hours later, in the early morning hours Thursday, a second shooting occurred on the same block of Cecil Avenue. LLMPD said Thursday afternoon that a teenager girl had died at University Hospital.
“That we have been normalized to children being slaughtered is complete crap,” LMPD Chief Erika Shields said in a news conference following the teen shootings.
The most recent shooting involving a teen happened in the 3700 block of West Main Street around 11 p.m. Police said a male in his teens was taken to the hospital where he died.
“It has really taken a toll on the mindset of everyone, adults as well,” said Jesse Murrah, pastor of North Central Church of Christ.
Murrah has witnessed the pain and heartbreak experienced in Shawnee from gun violence. He believes the uptick in shootings involving teenagers stems from isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“An idle mind is a devil’s workshop,” Murrah said. “We say that all the time.”
Just down the road, the Neighborhood House feels the community’s pain, too. It’s a community center that works with children and teens and provides a safe place to learn and grow outside of school.
“We just want them to understand that we believe in them, that this community believes in them, that we believe in their families so that it gives that sense of hopefulness,” Executive Director Jeannie Jean Davidson said.
Davidson said she’s seen firsthand what can happen when children don’t have those safe, engaging environments.
“Kids are kids and teenagers are teenagers, and when guns get involved, the consequences are really dire,” she said.
Gun violence in Louisville continues to soar as the homicide count is on pace to break records of years past. Teenagers involved in the violence highlight the community issue, especially in Shawnee. Community leaders hope young people can change the course.
“This is a community problem,” Davidson said. “Our work is completely necessary and wonderful, but it’s not sufficient. The whole community has to come together to figure out.”
“We gotta put a stopper in this,” Murrah added. “And it does start with our young people getting a different mindset.”
There are no suspects in custody for any of the shootings, and the investigations continue. Anyone with information is asked to call the crime tip line at 574-LMPD. All calls are anonymous.