Kentucky officials have yet to name the person who killed David McAtee, a beloved West Louisville restaurant owner who was shot and killed following a night of anti-police brutality protests. But they do know that it was a member of the National Guard who killed him.
The announcement was made Tuesday by Governor Andy Beshear’s executive cabinet secretary, J. Michael Brown. According to Brown, lab tests concluded that the bullet that killed McAtee was the same one used by the U.S. military, reports Kentucky.com.
The “fatal shot came from the National Guard,” Brown said. “We have no doubt about that.”
McAtee was killed on June 1 in front of his restaurant, YaYa’s BBQ Shack. Brown said at least 18 bullets were fired at McAtee’s direction, but he was killed by a single gunshot wound to his chest. As Kentucky.com reports, video footage from that night shows McAtee grilling hot dogs and hamburgers outside the restaurant when officers and soldiers arrived to “disperse” a crowd that had gathered at a nearby store (Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had placed a “dusk-to-dawn” curfew on the city that week).
Brown says he believes McAtee fired the first shot at officers. Gunshot residue found on McAtee, as well as two shell casings from a gun found nearby, indicate that the restaurant owner fired his weapon twice that night.
But there is evidence suggesting law enforcement provoked McAtee to fire at them.
A video analysis of the incident by the New York Times published last week appears to show an LMPD officer firing first, shooting two pepper balls in the direction of McAtee, one of which almost hit his niece in the head, striking the door frame behind her. McAtee then steps out his back door, twice, and appears to fire back before he is shot in the chest by a bullet and falls to the ground.
Two members of the National Guard and two Louisville Metro Police Department officers, Austin Allen and Katie Crews, together, fired their weapons toward McAtee. Crews and Allen were placed on administrative leave while the case is investigated.
Gov. Beshear was responsible for calling the National Guard in after seven people were shot at a protest calling for accountability in the shooting-death of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in March by three LMPD officers.
Local TV station WLKY reports that the National Guard is expected to release a statement on McAtee’s killing soon, while both of the soldiers involved in the shooting have been pulled from active duty.