Tyler Gerth, the 27-year-old man who died during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky, was a photographer and strong supporter of the ongoing protests, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
Gerth died Saturday night after he was shot during a protest in Jefferson Square Park. The shooting occurred after Steven Lopez, 23, got in a dispute during the protest and came back with a gun, according to the Courier Journal’s report.
Gerth was not Lopez’s intended target, according to the report. Lopez now faces murder and first-degree wanton endangerment charges (RELATED: Police Release Report From Breonna Taylor’s Death, List Injuries As ‘None’ Despite Her Reportedly Being Shot 8 Times)
Nationwide protests erupted following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died May 25 in Minneapolis Police custody after a police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. Protesters also marched over the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot in her home in March while Louisville police were executing a “no-knock” search warrant.
The 27-year-old photographer was an avid supporter of the protests, his family said according to the report. His Instagram page shows a collection of photos taken at Black Lives Matter protests in Kentucky.
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Today at Jefferson Square Park a group of protestors met again to peacefully protest. The Group SHE (we are Seen, we are Heard, we are Engaged) organized a bunch of strong, beautiful black women to show off their art of music, poetry, dancing, and praising the Lord. Seeing the young people there reminded me why we need change. So they can have a brighter future than the past generations. #blacklivesmatter #blm #defundthepolice #louisville #kentucky #peacefulprotest #iamhersheisme #justiceforbreonnataylor #sayhername #love #art #beautiful #photography
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The sheer number of people that showed up earlier tonight to show support Breonna Taylor and the other black people in this country who wrongfully murdered by police officers. These officers need to be held accountable for their actions. No one is above the law. #blacklivesmatter #blm #standup #standtogether #unitedwestand #speakup #endwhitesilence #justice #justiceforbreonnataylor #everythinglouisville #kentucky #protest #peace #peacefulprotest #love #unitedwestand #photography
“Tyler was incredibly kind, tender-hearted and generous, holding deep convictions and faith,” his family said in a statement.
“It was this sense of justice that drove Tyler to be part of the peaceful demonstrations advocating for the destruction of the systemic racism within our society’s systems,” they added. “This, combined with his passion of photography led to a strong need within him to be there, documenting the movement, capturing and communicating the messages of peace and justice.”
“While we cannot fathom this life without our happy, inquisitive, hardworking, funny, precious Tyler, we pray that his death would be a turning point and catalyst for peace in the city he loved so much,” they continued. “We ask for your prayers and that the Lord would draw close in our sorrow, but we also ask that his death is not just another statistic of senseless violence.”
Gerth graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2016 and earned a degree in agricultural economics, his family said. He would have turned 28 on Friday.