Amid the protests taking place in the name of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, early Monday morning, local businessman David McAtee was shot and killed during an incident involving the Louisville Metro Police and the National Guard, the Courier Journal reported.
McAtee was the owner of a popular barbecue spot located near the Dino’s Food Mart parking lot where the shooting took place at 12:15 a.m. local time on June 1.
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said during a press conference on Monday, “Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at. Both LMPD and National Guard members returned fire.” Conrad noted that it is unclear if McAtee, 53, was the person who fired at the officers.
“It’s very clear that many people do not trust the police,” Conrad said. “That is an issue we’re going to work on and work through.” Later on Monday afternoon, Conrad was fired effective immediately after it was discovered that there was no police body camera footage of the incident.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear tweeted out a statement on Monday morning announcing that he’s asked the Kentucky State Police to investigate the matter:
Last night at around 12 a.m., it is our understanding that the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) and the Kentucky National Guard were dispatched to 26th and Broadway. While working to disperse a crowd, LMPD [Louisville Metro Police Department] and the Kentucky National Guard were fired upon. LMPF and the Kentucky National Guard returned first resulting in a death. Given the seriousness of the situation, I have authorized the Kentucky State Police to independently investigate the event.
Beshear Asked Police & Witnesses to Submit Video of the Shooting
During a press conference, Beshear asked for witnesses to submit videos from the shooting that left McAtee dead. “I’m not asking people to trust our account (of what happened). I want to see the video for ourselves,” Beshear said.
Beshear said he’s been in touch with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who has asked for the LMPD to release a “significant” amount of body camera footage from the incident “as soon as possible.”
As for who shot McAtee, Conrad said police had “several persons of interest” being questioned. He said, “We are collecting video from the incident and expect to release what we have some time on (Monday).”
Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad was Fired on Monday Afternoon
Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Monday afternoon that Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad has been fired. Following the death of McAtee, and the governor’s call for footage of the incident, it was discovered that no police body footage was available.
“That lack of institutional failure will not be tolerated,” Fischer said.
Conrad served in with the police department for eight years and his firing was made effective immediately. In the interim, Deputy Chief Robert Schneider will serve as chief.
Tributes to McAtee, a Man Beloved by His Community as ‘the BBQ Man,’ Were Shared on Social Media
After McAtee was identified by his family as the victim of the shooting, Beshear spoke to the man’s mother, Odessa Riley. She told reporter Phillip Bailey, “I just buried my baby daughter on Jan. 22. Now, my baby son has gotten killed, so I’m just going through it.”
WDRB journalist Lexi Ratterman, who also spoke with Riley, said McAtee was known as “Yah Yah,” and “The BBQ Man” around the neighborhood. McAtee’s mother also asked for the protests in the name of her son to remain peaceful.
McAtee donated his time and food to Volunteers of America’s Louisville Family Housing Services (LFHS) to help provide meals to homeless families. In 2014, he was featured by Volunteers of America for his work with Bellarmine Food Recovery Network (BRFN), which helps provide food to 24 families every day.
A Louisville woman wrote on Facebook, “The man shot, David McAtee, was an icon in the Russell neighborhood and was known for his BBQ on the corner. Why did he have to die?”