A Kentucky man was shot and killed by police early Monday morning outside of a supermarket in Louisville. David McAtee, 53, a chef and the owner of Yaya’s BBQ, died when the Kentucky National Guard and the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) shot into a crowd that had formed outside of Dino’s Food Mart. State and local police are now investigating the shooting, which took place around 12:15 a.m. after a crowd broke out in front of the local storefront.
Louisville issued a 9 p.m. set curfew for the entire city following protests against the deaths of unarmed Black people. However, protests continued to grow well into the night — particularly in the city where Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police after they entered her home on a botched warrant.
According to LMPD Chief Steve Conrad, police and guards received word that a “large group” had congregated outside of the supermarket after the curfew. Reports indicate that hundreds gathered in the Dino's parking lot — which is next door to McAtee's BBQ restaurant — when police arrived to "break up" the crowd. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said in a Monday statement that the LMPD and the National Guard were “fired upon” and, as a result, “returned fire, resulting in a death.” McAtee’s death was confirmed by multiple family members, as well as Metro Council President David James.
Following McAtee’s death and the revelation that no body camera video existed of Monday’s fatal shooting, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad was promptly fired. “That lack of institutional failure will not be tolerated,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer stated on Monday, according to local news outlet WKYT. The body cameras of the police officers responding to the crowd gathering were confirmed to be off.
Though Gov. Beshear noted that the gravity of the shooting has resulted in an independent investigation led by Kentucky State Police, the community of Louisville grappled with mourning yet another Black death at the hands of law enforcement.
McAtee was a well-known and well-liked man in the area, often going out of his way to feed police officers for free. James confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the popular chef “liked the police. He used to give the police free food while they were working. He talked to them all the time."
McAtee’s family mourned the loss of their loved one in the hours following his death. “He left a great legend behind,” his mother Odessa Riley told Louisville’s Courier-Journal. “He was a good person. Everybody around him would say that.”
But according to the community in Louisville, the pain — and the message behind consistent police violence — remains. McAtee’s death comes one week after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed man who was killed in Minneapolis last Monday whose death has sparked nationwide protests. And, no one has been charged for the killing of Breonna Taylor. Despite swift action to remove the chief of police, the community now demands that the police violence cease, and local leaders call for an outright end to it.
Refinery29 has reached out to the Louisville Metro Police Department. We will update this story when we know more.