Parkland shooting marks Jefferson County's 100th homicide

The Louisville area crossed a grim line Wednesday when it recorded its 100th homicide for the year, reaching triple digits for the first time in four decades.

The last victim was an unidentified man who was killed just before noon Wednesday in the 3200 block of Greenwood Avenue in the Parkland neighborhood. Hours later, police arrested a 16-year-old male on charges of murder and tampering with evidence. No other information was available.

In tabulating the death toll, the Courier-Journal totaled all homicides in the county, which includes Louisville's 94, Shively's five and Jeffersontown's one.

"As I've said many times, at probably more than half of these that I've worked, from the first one to the one that we had today, they are all tragic and many of them are unnecessary," said Louisville Metro Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell on Wednesday at the homicide scene.

Linda Callowa, 63, who lives on Grand Avenue just south of the homicide scene, said it isn't uncommon to hear gunshots.

"Every time I hear of a shooting, I call my grandkids," said Calloway, who has lived in the neighborhood her entire life and helped raise her six grandchildren.

She said that she's tried to raise her kids, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren to stay occupied and off the streets. "There's nothing but trouble here," she said. "Bullets don't have eyes."

According to police data going back to 1960, the last time the Louisville area saw triple-digit homicide totals was in 1976 when the countywide count reached 104 killings. The highest homicide count in that period came in 1971 when 110 people were killed countywide.

At the current pace, Louisville is on track to exceed that number by the end of the year.

Speaking during a news conference after a homicide in September, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said combating the rise in homicides can't fall solely on the shoulders of law enforcement.

"Violent crime is not just a police problem,” he said. “It's a community problem and we all must come together and work together to do what we can to resolve these underlying issues that lead young people to become involved in criminal activity."

Conrad has linked at least some of the homicides to gangs, as well as the more often-cited narcotics.

Testifying before the Louisville Metro Council earlier this year on the rising body count, the chief also attributed poverty, easily accessible firearms and the failure of local institutions such as families and churches that were supposed to shield youth.

This year's homicide tally exceeds last year's count of 80 that Louisville Metro Police investigated and five other Jefferson County killings — the most since 1979 when there were 92 countywide.

Wednesday's killing took place at an unidentified location off of Greenwood Avenue between Louis Coleman Drive and South 32nd Street. Police set up crime tape encompassing the middle half of the block but were not looking at any specific residences while reporters were on the scene.

The street straddles the border of the Chickasaw and Parkland neighborhoods, sandwiched by the Boys and Girls Club of Kentuckiana's Parkland location to the east and the Fountain of Faith Christian Church to the west.

"We live in the real world, where unfortunately people don't have any type of regard for those types of institutions," Mitchell said Wednesday. "Again, it's unfortunate that this will happen so close to a Boys and Girls Club and a church."

Jordan, a neighbor near Wednesday's homicide scene who declined to give her last name, said she was sleeping when the man was killed, so she didn't hear or see anything. She was woken up by a friend who wanted to make sure she was OK and saw crime tape to the left of her home.

"It's really sad – all these senseless killings," she said. "It's not a good feeling. It's really an uneasy feeling."

"I keep saying that I need to get out," Jordan said.

Wednesday's shooting victim was taken to the University of Louisville Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The Jefferson County coroner's office has not yet released his identification.

Mitchell said anyone with information is asked to call Louisville Metro Police's anonymous tip line at 502-574-5673.

Reporter Justin Sayers can be reached at 502-582-4252 or jsayers@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @_JustinSayers. Reporter Matthew Glowicki can be reached at 502-582-4989 or mglowicki@courier-journal.com.


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