In notes, Louisville mass shooter says tougher access to guns would’ve stopped him

The Louisville Metro Police Department has concluded its investigation into the mass shooting at Old National Bank this spring that left five people dead, along with the shooter, who was fatally shot by police. Others, including a Louisville police officer, were wounded.

Police released 64 pages of records related to the investigation Tuesday, including writings by the shooter, Connor Sturgeon, that provide insight into his mindset as he planned the April 10 attack.

The journal entries “are direct information to the planning and his mindset in the days leading up to the shooting, with his possible motives for his actions including political issues surrounding corrupt politicians and lack of gun control,” a police detective wrote.

The documents also include an investigative letter by the LMPD Homicide Unit, a medical examiner’s report on the suspect and the receipt for the rifle Sturgeon used in the shooting.

The records posted on the police department’s website revealed that:

  • Sturgeon, 25, bought a Radical Firearms RF-15 at River City Firearms in Louisville April 4, six days before the shooting. He brought it, along with 120 rounds of ammunition, “loaded between four separate rifle magazines,” into the bank. He carried a gym bag that also contained a shirt that he planned to change into and eye and ear protection.

  • The shooting unfolded over about eight minutes from the time the first person was shot until Sturgeon was killed after being shot in the head, leg and arm.

  • Sturgeon fired over 40 rounds during the attack. Only one of the 13 people who were in the conference room when the attack began escaped unhurt.

  • Sturgeon wrote that he wanted to “send a message to those with power that they are not invincible.” “I have decided to make an impact,” he wrote. “These people did not deserve to die but because I was depressed and able to buy __ (guns?), they are gone. Perhaps this is the impact for change — upper class white people dying. I certainly would not have been able to do this were it more difficult to get a gun.”

  • He wrote that the plan for the shooting was “something I have to do.” He also appeared to blame the National Rifle Association for the shooting, writing, “Lets give it up for the NRA!! (raucous applause.) I couldn’t have done this without all of your lobbying dollars. You really brought this whole thing together. This is the world you are building. One without any regard for the value of Human Life.”

  • Sturgeon wrote that “this is so easy.” “I just lied to everyone so easily and none caught on,” one entry states. “This is intentional. There is nothing anyone could have done.”

  • The writings also included statements in which Sturgeon said he didn’t consider himself “a terrorist, or a monster.” “I may be a psycho,” he wrote. “I am definitely very sick.”

  • Sturgeon’s parents told police he spent the day before the shooting, Easter Sunday, with his family “and showed no signs of anything being wrong.”

  • He was in therapy for “mental health issues” and had been to an appointment the Thursday before where “changes were made to his medications to increase dosage units,” but he had not made statements indicating a threat to himself or others, according to the investigative letter.

  • Sturgeon told his mother he had had a panic attack the Monday before and said “he wanted to go on FMLA” from the bank because of that. “He stated he could not pinpoint what was going on with him, but he needed to leave.”

  • Sturgeon had “voluntarily checked into a mental hospital” after a suicide attempt last year.

  • Though he “had positive relationships with peers and bosses,” the records state that Sturgeon “was unhappy with his career path” and wasn’t sure he wanted to stay in banking.

  • Some of the survivors told police that Sturgeon had a “poor work ethic,” but that he kept his position because his father was good friends with a high-ranking bank official. He had worked at the bank since 2018.

  • An examination by the Mayo Clinic after Sturgeon’s death revealed that he did not have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a disorder caused by repeated head traumas.

  • Aside from alprazolam, a medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, Sturgeon did not have drugs or ethanol in his system at the time of the shooting, according to a medical examiner’s report.

  • Police reviewed Sturgeon’s phone records, email, social media and electronic devices but did not find indications that he had searched for information on mass shootings or how to carry them out. Police said they “did not locate any vast search history involving guns, violence, or any long-term planning,” and while Sturgeon searched for gun ranges after buying the rifle he used in the attack, police said there was no record that he went to a range.

  • In addition to a written plan that included notes on social media posts he planned to make before carrying out the shooting, police released images of letters Sturgeon left behind for his parents and others, and a handwritten will.

In an announcement Tuesday, Louisville Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel and Mayor Craig Greenberg said the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office had determined that Officer Cory Galloway, who shot and killed the shooter, was justified in his actions.

“On April 10, 2023, the citizens of Louisville collectively suffered one of the most devastating events in the city’s history,” Greenberg said in a news release. “Five innocent people: Josh Barrick, Deana Eckert, Tommy Elliott, Juliana Farmer, and Jim Tutt had their lives inexplicably stolen from them. Others were shot, but survived, and their lives are forever changed. LMPD Officer Nickolas Wilt, just 10 days out of the police academy, survived a gunshot wound to the head. Officer Cory Galloway was forced to confront and stop an active shooter. Countless family members, Old National Bank employees, and others will undoubtedly carry the pain of that day with them.”

Gwinn-Vallaroel said in the news release that “our priority has been assisting the families, Old National Bank employees, officers, and community members affected by the horrific events of that day.”

She said they “will continue to honor the victims, their families, and the officers directly affected by the tragedy.”

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