A 16-year-old Eastern High School student is dead, two other teens are injured and a community is reeling after a drive-by shooting at a school bus stop in Louisville early Wednesday morning.
As night approached, community members were expected to gather near the site of the shooting, which was reported about 6:30 a.m. at Dr. W.J. Hodge and West Chestnut streets in the Russell neighborhood. Jefferson County Public Schools officials were making plans to ensure affected students have access to crisis counseling.
In total, Louisville Metro Police said three students were struck during the shooting.
One of the boys, 16-year-old Tyree Smith, was later pronounced dead at University of Louisville Hospital. The second boy, 13, was sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening-injuries. A 14-year-old girl was grazed on the ankle and declined medical treatment.
Sharonda Smith, who said she was the aunt of the slain boy, said he was a junior at Eastern. She said she believes the location was the target, not her nephew.
The Rev. Charles Elliott, pastor of King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church, which is a few blocks from Wednesday’s shooting scene, said the boy’s death made him think of how, decades ago, he was “protesting for the right for Black kids to have the same opportunity that white kids have” and attend the same schools.
But just as Elliott noted Louisville suffered “many shootings” about 50 years ago, the longtime pastor and civil rights leader said he wonders how much has really changed in the city.
“It’s heartbreaking for me now to see that my marching and my protesting for that is in vain,” Elliott said while inside his church office Wednesday.
“…We can’t police our way out of this,” added Elliott, who is nearing his 60th year in ministry. “It’s not actually a school problem (either). The problem is sin and because we have no respect for one another no more.”