LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There have been 10 homicides across Metro Louisville in the first 10 days of 2023. Mayor Craig Greenberg, who is just nine days into his tenure as the city's new leader, said it's "unacceptable."
"It's tragic. These are not just numbers, these are people," he said. "We are one city plagued by a violent crime emergency."
Greenberg pleaded with the community to "stop the violence, stop the killing," adding this goes beyond just police's responsibility.
"We need community action and community assistance. We need everyone's help to stop this violence. LMPD cannot do it on its own, and we should not expect them or want them to do it on its own," he said.
The mayor was joined by Louisville Metro Police Department's Interim Chief Jackie Gwinn-Villaroel, who said while LMPD is working tirelessly to arrest suspects and close these cases, the department can't do it alone.
"We cannot do this alone. Homicides erode the well-being of our community as a whole," she said. "The key to successfully combatting crime is the collaboration and involvement of Louisville’s citizens."
Gwinn-Villaroel was asked if gangs and drugs are a main driver in these shootings. She says it's a combination, but also mentioned many shootings start as disputes that then escalate when one person pulls out a gun.
Greenberg said he is authorizing the use of additional software for LMPD detectives which officials believe will help with homicide investigations, solving them quicker. They're also looking into improving DNA result turnaround times to better provide closure for families.
But the mayor said solving this issue is more than just policing.
"We're going to continue implementing longer term solutions," he said, adding he is committed to investing in communities that need support and pushing policies that improve areas plagued by violence. "And yes, dealing with guns."
At Wednesday's news conference, an emotional Jason Buckner said the community is united against those inflicting this harm around the city. His brother Jeremiah "Ekoe" Buckner, was shot and killed last week.
"I have been fighting for you for my entire life," he said. "When he started Linkin' Bridge, it was to use his talents to build a bridge of harmony across different peoples...he spread love and that's who you kill?"
Buckner said when he thinks of his brother, he thinks of what he's done for the city, to inspire others, "well guess what, you just took him off the map."
"If you've ever watched Teenage Ninja Turtles and seen what Raphael has done...that was my Raphael, man. He fought with me. For you," he said.
In the coming days, Greenberg said there will be a community-wide action-oriented discussion to ensure all Louisvillians can be part of the conversation to stop violence in the city.
"We need everyone's help," he said. "There is no time to waste."
At the news conference, Greenberg was joined by a noticeably large group of LMPD officers, including homicide detectives, along with church leaders and anti-violence advocates. They say they wanted to show a united front, amid grief.
"There's no racial divide here. There's no socioeconomic divide here, we know who we fight for," Buckner said.
If you would like to be apart of that conversation, call the mayor's office at 502-574-2003.
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