A photographer who allegedly supported Black Lives Matter (BLM) seems to have been killed by a BLM-affiliated protester.
Tyler Gerth, a photographer and outspoken supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, according to the Courier Journal, was gunned down in a protest camp in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday. Steven Nelson Lopez, who is suspected of killing Gerth, has been sighted and arrested at protests against racism and police brutality, per the Courier Journal. One other individual was also wounded during the shooting.
A livestream originally provided by Maxwell Mitchell appears to show Lopez firing indiscriminately into a protest camp that was located in Louisville’s Jefferson Square Park. Mitchell’s stream has since been clipped and reposted by other individuals.
CONTENT WARNING: This video of today’s shooting at Jefferson Square Park was pulled from the FB livestream of one of Louisville’s more vocal protesters. Absolutely horrifying to see. To my friends, coworkers and anybody else down there, please be vigilant. Please be safe. pic.twitter.com/AT8PiOIKrG
— John Boyle (@JBernardBoyle) June 28, 2020
The Louisville Metro Police Department has also uploaded footage captured by a security camera that appears to show Lopez opening fire as a man falls to the ground before him.
Lopez’s shooting was ended by several bystanders who returned fire, striking him in the leg. He has since been charged with murder and first-degree wanton endangerment, per the Courier. (RELATED: Louisville Shooting Victim Was A 27-Year-Old Photographer)
The slain photographer’s Instagram profile remains publicly available and features a statement asking his viewers to “be excellent to each other.” His profile also features over a dozens shots favorably depicting BLM rallies. “I do not see an end to protests, for good reason. I am so proud of everyone who showed up tonight to show support,” he wrote in the caption for one of his photographs.
Records show that Lopez was arrested on June 17 and charged with inciting a riot, disorderly conduct, harassment and possession of drug paraphernalia, per the Courier. His citation also records that he had a handgun and “with two full mags of ammo” when he was arrested. He was also arrested on June 19 for unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct, per WYMT.
Lopez seems to have returned the streets in protest following his June 17 arrest.
A speaker at a Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression press conference held the day after Gerth’s murder said that Lopez was sighted amidst the crowds of protesters for at least 12 days leading up to Saturday. The Courier also wrote that its reporters can corroborate this observation.
Members of the Alliance also claim that the fact Lopez was arrested so quickly after he fired into the camp is “an example of the injustice that black folks face every day,” because he was apprehended very quickly, but no arrests have yet been made in connection with the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was shot and killed by the Louisville Metro Police Department roughly three months ago, per CNN.
The alliance further bemoaned that the protest camp was dismantled and further camping has been prohibited in Jefferson Square following the deadly shooting that happened there.
We are enforcing the camping ordinance starting this morning, given the safety risk that now exists in the park. pic.twitter.com/6bPX4wVdSU
— LMPD (@LMPD) June 28, 2020