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Site of bus stop homicide investigated for another shooting two weeks earlier, JCPS records show

Email records show Eastern High students reported to the school that shots were fired near the bus stop at W.J. Hodge and Chestnut St. on Sept. 7.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) records show just two weeks before the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Eastern High School student Tyree Smith, gunshots were reportedly fired near the same stop.

Emails by JCPS officials, acquired through an Open Records Request (ORR), say Eastern students told the school that shots were fired near the bus stop at Dr. W.J. Hodge and Chestnut Street on the morning of Sept. 7.

Students reported to Eastern staff that two men approached them and told them to move away from the stop. The men then allegedly got in a car and turned into an alley near the stop. The students said they heard gunshots and ran away from the area. They said there were 15 to 20 students at the stop when the incident happened.

The emails reveal the school system told the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) about the shooting report. An LMPD sergeant later told school officials that nothing was found at the site upon arrival, according to the emails.

Louisville Mayor Fischer said he was unaware of claims of the incident during a press conference held the morning of Tyree Smith's death. JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio and LMPD Chief Erika Shields, who also spoke at the conference, did not confirm or deny the report of shots fired at the conference.

JCPS spokesperson Mark Hebert said, "At the time of the Mayor’s 11 a.m. news conference on September 22nd, none of the JCPS staff at the event were aware of the September 7th incident near the bus stop at 21st and Chestnut."

Jessica Wethington from Mayor Fischer's Office said they are preparing a statement on the matter.

LMPD Public Information Officer Beth Ruoff said officers provided patrol units for student drop off Sept. 7. Ruoff confirmed that although officers were dispatched to the area, there was no incident report taken. 

"As there was no incident report, it would not be information that was readily accessible for the [Sept. 22] press conference, hence the response provided," Ruoff said.

The morning of Smith's homicide family members told WHAS11 a shooting had happened at the stop weeks before. 

"Every time we told the school [about the shooting] they didn't change our bus stop," Smith's aunt said. "One of them happened, like, two weeks ago and then the other happened a week or two after school started." 

The homicide remains under investigation at this time. No arrests have been made.

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