More than 100 previous felony offenders possessing firearms have been charged this year as part of a city and federal initiative to address violent crime in Louisville.
U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman announced the indictments against 105 defendants Wednesday. Coleman said that raises the number of federal firearms cases that were filed in fiscal year 2018 to 115 — a 60 percent increase compared to the previous fiscal year.
During a news conference Wednesday, as victims of violent crimes watched in the front row, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said more should be done to address violence in the city.
“Most important are the people in the front row, the people that are victimized — the people of this community who have seen far too much violence,” Conrad said. “We will do what we can to make Louisville a safer city.”
Conrad said 73 people have been killed and 256 people have been shot in Louisville this year.
The initiative — Project Safe Neighborhoods — is a multi-agency partnership between federal prosecutors, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney and LMPD.
Violent crime in Louisville surged in 2016, marking a record 117 homicides that year. Yearly homicide counts receded after, but firearms are still involved in a majority of Louisville’s homicides, according to LMPD data.
Stuart Lowrey, a special agent in charge at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said some guns recovered this year were reported lost or stolen, but that many were bought and trafficked within the state.
U.S. Attorney Coleman said he expects more charges will be filed soon.