Metro Louisville

Louisville police have identified 30-year-old Herbert E. Lee as the man they say was shot by officers in Shawnee Park Sunday night after Lee fired at them.

The shooting occurred around 8 p.m. after the Dirt Bowl basketball tournament had wrapped up for the day. Police spokesperson Alicia Smiley said police approached Lee, “a man known to have warrants,” when Lee pulled out a gun and shot an officer in the chest. The officer was wearing a bullet-resistant vest and was not seriously injured. Police recovered a gun from the scene, Smiley said.

Lee was transported to the University of Louisville Hospital. Along with releasing his name Monday morning, Louisville Metro Police Department officials said in a statement that Lee is in stable condition. Police did not say how many times he had been shot.

When he is healthy enough to leave the hospital, police intend to charge Lee with attempted murder of a police officer. LMPD said Lee will also be charged with receiving a stolen firearm, possessing a gun as a convicted felon and fleeing/evading arrest.

The Department has not responded to WFPL News’ question about when the body camera footage of the incident would be released.

According to Jefferson County court documents, Lee had been on probation since 2020 when he pleaded guilty to a fourth degree domestic violence charge. 

He was arrested last August for allegedly stealing a gun, being a convicted felon in possession of a gun and running from police. Lee was arrested again four months later, in Dec. 2021, for allegedly cashing forged checks from his dead father’s bank account. He was able to post bail in both of those cases, but warrants were issued for his arrest in late March for failure to appear in court.

At a hearing last month, Lee’s probation for the domestic violence conviction was revoked for absconding, which, according to state law, means he failed to attend meetings with his probation officer. Court documents noted that Lee was considered a fugitive.

LMPD says it is working with Kentucky State Police, which investigates shootings involving local police officers.

Bruce Sweeney coaches the youth basketball team the Breewayy Warriors, named in honor of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by LMPD officers. He told WFPL News Sunday night that the incident will be “in the back of my head all the time ‘til the day I die.”

“The buzzer went off. It was a good game,” Sweeney said.

He recalled seeing a man, who had been watching the game, running and police pursuing him. 

“The first thing we all said, ‘Don’t shoot him. Don’t shoot him’,” Sweeney said. “Several times we said that. Next thing I know shots were fired… Why are [police] shooting multiple rounds? There are kids out here. Y’all are supposed to be out here to protect us.”

Several activists who had come to the scene, and stood with Sweeney, questioned LMPD’s narrative and said police need to release body camera footage as soon as possible.

Cortez Rice, an activist from Minneapolis, said it’s upsetting that this happened in a public park near so many people, especially children. 

“Bullets have no names on them,” Rice said. “Any one of the kids could have been hit. Any one of these neighbors could have been doing their dishes, looking out their window, and been hit by a stray bullet from officers.”  

Sweeney said his own kids had been at the game, but left shortly before the shooting.

“I don’t want to bring my kids no more [to this park],” Sweeney said.

Sweeney posted a video on Facebook soon after the shooting that shows a man lying motionless on the ground being rendered aid.

This story has been updated with additional details.

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.
Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL.