A historic Black church in Louisville’s Shelby Park neighborhood has suffered damage from gunfire in a shooting neighbors say happened around 1:15 a.m. Wednesday. No one was inside the church at the time of the shooting, and no injuries have been reported.
A spokesman for the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) said authorities have “not ruled out” the possibility the shooting was racially motivated.
“We don’t know that definitively at this point, and certainly we haven’t ruled out that fact,” LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell said.
According to Mitchell, witnesses reported seeing four “unknown white males firing shots” in the area near Little Flock Missionary Baptist Church. Bullets struck the church, causing damage to the glass doors and drywall.
The shooting happened amid nationwide protests over police brutality and systemic racism, including in Louisville. The Shelby Park neighborhood, where Little Flock is located, has not been the site of protests.
Mitchell said police do not have any suspects, and are asking the public to report what they may have seen. He said the FBI is investigating, along with LMPD, and declined to give further information about the investigation.
Asked if LMPD was considering providing additional security for the church, Mitchell said officers will be doing their normal patrols.
“They are aware of it, and will be checking the area,” he said. “If the church wants to have additional security they may hire someone outside of LMPD as well, if that’s what they chose to do.”
‘I Got On The Ground’
Several neighbors interviewed by WFPL News said shots rang out around 1:00 a.m. or 1:15 a.m.
One neighbor, who declined to give her name, said she was in her living room when she heard multiple gunshots.
“I got down on the ground,” she said. “It was really close.” She said she did not try to look out the window. Her children slept through the event.
Directly across the street from the church, Leon-El Gay also hit the floor of his house when he heard the shots. He didn’t see anything either. But he said he believes it’s likely the shooting was racially motivated.
“Black church?” he said. “It don’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened here.”
Church leaders could not be reached for comment by our deadline, but according to the church’s website, Little Flock Missionary Baptist Church is more than 150 years old.
The church website says the congregation was established in 1867 by free, and recently freed men and women.