Louisville Police Major Aubrey Gregory heard what sounded like someone firing off an entire clip of ammunition, but he couldn’t tell where the gunfire was coming from.
It was dark. He and a team of officers were responding to a call of shots fired. They deployed to Brook Street and Broadway. Gregory had turned his back on the couple hundred protesters who stood nearby to issues instructions to his team, he said.
That’s when he heard the shots. He put his hand on his service weapon, but he never drew. The gunfire stopped. Gregory realized his hip felt like it was on fire, he said.
Gregory and Officer Robinson Desroches were shot last Wednesday night near downtown while responding to protests.
Both officers are expected to recover. LMPD arrested Larynzo Johnson, 26, in connection with the shooting. Police charged Johnson with two counts of first-degree assault on a police officer and 14 counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.
On Wednesday, Gregory described the experience publicly for the first time.
Gregory was shot in the hip, he said. The bullet fragmented, leaving him with one entry wound and two exit wounds.
“I’m going to be behind the desk for a while, but hopefully everything goes the way it should, and I don’t get any infections or anything, I’ll make a full recovery,” Gregory said.
Desroches was shot in the abdomen and is recovering after surgery. Gregory said Deroches’ recovery will take longer, but he’s grateful it wasn’t worse.
“He’s in a lot of pain, a lot of pain and it’s going to be that way for a while,” Gregory said.
Gregory said he does not blame the protesters for the shooting, but is disheartened and frustrated with the person who shot him for “shattering” the work officers have done to protect protesters First Amendment rights.
“To be shot by a single person, I don’t hold the group responsible for what another person did, but I hold that person responsible,” he said.
However, Gregory also said that protesters’ violent rhetoric toward police has increased fear and anxiety among officers who are serving and protecting their communities.
Despite that, Gregory said officers want to make the city better and more inclusive, but that can only happen when everyone works together.
“Violence is not the answer, it never has been and it never will be. It’s only by working together that we can make a difference,” Gregory said.