Louisville Courier Journal
Published 5:12 PM EST Nov 9, 2019
The man who allegedly fired at Louisville police officers outside of a Portland Kroger on Thursday night before the officers fatally shot him has been identified.
Shelby Gazaway, 32, of Louisville, was pronounced dead at the scene just after 6:20 p.m. Thursday, according to the Jefferson County Coroner's Office.
Gazaway died of a gunshot wound after two LMPD officers engaged in a brief shootout with him outside the entrance to the Kroger at 520 N. 35th St., according to the coroner's office.
On Friday, Louisville Metro Police officials released more details about the deadly incident, saying it started about 6 p.m. Thursday after Gazaway had allegedly assaulted another person inside the store.
During the assault, Gazaway pulled out a handgun and fired numerous rounds toward the store's ceiling, said LMPD Maj. Jamey Schwab, commander of the Special Investigations Division.
Background: Man fired at officers before they fatally shot him at Kroger, LMPD says
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said officers Patrick Norton and Alex Dugan arrived at the Kroger just after 6:05 p.m., within a minute of 911 calls reporting an active shooter in the store.
As the officers approached the store, fleeing bystanders said the shooter was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt. LMPD released body camera footage Friday that shows Gazaway shooting at the officers after one officer asked the suspect to drop his weapon.
The officers ducked behind a pillar near the store's entrance and fired numerous shots at Gazaway before he was struck and went down.
One officer had a rifle and the other had a handgun, according to LMPD.
Both officers have been put on administrative reassignment pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting, which is standard procedure.
No one else was injured during the incident, according to LMPD.
Investigators have interviewed the person who Gazaway allegedly assaulted and are still trying to determine the relationship between the two.
Several witnesses reported hearing anywhere from five to nine gunshots, both inside and outside of the store. A chaotic scene ensued, according to witnesses, with some shoppers fleeing and others hiding inside the store.
"The incident had all the potential to have a much more tragic outcome," Conrad said Friday. "Dozens of people were in the Kroger."
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One witness, Jabani Bennett, told The Courier Journal she was inside the store when a fight broke out involving one older man, maybe in his 60s, and a younger man.
As managers and others got closer, someone said the younger man was holding a knife. But they quickly realized it was a gun.
“He just looked angry and out of it,” she said of the younger man.
Conrad said the body camera footage is "one piece" of the investigation, which will also include a review of all video, forensic evidence and interviews with officers and other witnesses.
LMPD's Public Integrity Unit is conducting an investigation to determine whether the shooting was justified.
The Portland Kroger was closed following the incident until it reopened Friday afternoon.
According to online court records, Gazaway did not have prior criminal activity and had only been cited for numerous traffic violations over the years.
LMPD is asking anyone who was at the Kroger in Portland and didn't talk to police on Thursday to come forward with any information or cellphone videos. Information can be shared with LMPD's anonymous tipline at 502-572-5673.
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Reach Billy Kobin at [email protected] or 502-582-7030. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/subscribe.