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'It was just confusion and mayhem': Shawnee Park-goers react to shooting involving police

Chief Erika Shields said officers saw a man identified as Herbert Lee, who they knew had active warrants. Shields said he ran, shot an officer and police shot back.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Police Chief Erika Shields has identified 30-year-old Herbert Lee as the man shot by officers Sunday night inside Shawnee Park. 

Shields said officers were at the park working the Dirt Bowl basketball tournament. While there they saw Lee, with whom police were familiar. 

Shields said they knew Lee had warrants out against him, including for possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

Shields told WHAS11 the officers waited until the tournament was over, around 8 p.m., to approach Lee. When they did, she said Lee fled, stumbled, then got back up and fired one shot at officers. He struck an officer in his chest while he was wearing a bulletproof vest. 

"Not every department has bullet proof vests and if he didn’t, he’d be deceased," Shields said. 

Shields said Lee continued to flee and ended up in a standoff with officers. She said they fired several times, striking Lee, and rendered aid until he was transported to the hospital. 

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Monday, Shields said Lee was in stable condition. She said the officer had been released from the hospital after being evaluated. 

Dirt Bowl organizer Ravon Churchill described the shooting as chaotic. 

"It was just confusion and mayhem," he said. 

Churchill said he is upset this happened after the games and wants people to know the event is safe. He said LMPD officers are always on hand at the park to help. 

"Because of their presence I know for a fact that people leave their guns in the car and I know for a fact that they don’t come to the Dirt Bowl unless they’re here," he said. 

Bruce Sweeney, coach of the Breewayy Warriors basketball team, watched the incident unfold. 

"Shots rung out, a lot of shots rung out, too many shots rung out," he said. 

Sweeney said there were many families and players still leaving the park when the shooting happened. His main concern is for the children. 

RELATED: 15-year-old identified as victim in Smoketown shooting

"They’re going to have to see this again and again and again," he said. "This is going to happen again and again so how are you going to handle this? Better training, getting more involved with the community." 

There are more Dirt Bowl games scheduled for the coming weeks. Churchill and Sweeney said they are hopeful the events can continue as planned. 

"I’m on the Dirt Bowl side and the Dirt Bowl didn’t have anything to do with it," Churchill said. "My grandkids are the fifth generation to experience this and I want their grandkids to come to."

When Lee is released from the hospital police say they will charge him with multiple charges including attempted murder of a police officer and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

Police said a gun was recovered from the scene.

LMPD said they are consulting with Kentucky State Police and will provide further updates as they become available.

Monday, LMPD released photos of the vest worn by the officer who was shot. The department has not yet released body camera footage of the incident. 

The River City FOP released a statement following the incident at the park: 

"Skyrocketing violence and attacks on police continue. Thankfully our officers will be okay. There must be action taken to stop the out of control violence and lawlessness that is surging in our city. Louisville will not survive if this violent crime isn’t seriously addressed."

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