Before most families had sat down to dinner in Louisville, Kentucky, a Thanksgiving youth football game was struck by tragedy. Two people were killed and four injured following a shooting at Shawnee Park just before 2 p.m. at what locals call the Juice Bowl. Every Thanksgiving the park fills with children and families to play a series of football games to celebrate the holiday. There were hundreds in attendance, including the city's mayor, who had a security detail and staff with him.
Little is known about the two males that were killed, they were announced dead at the scene. The four injured have been transferred to area hospitals. Louisville Metro Police Department spokesman Dwight Mitchell told local TV channel WAVE that they do not have life-threatening injuries. Two were sent via ambulance and two were able to go in private vehicles. Thus far no one has been arrested in the attack. Mitchell said the suspects are at large and the motive remains unclear.
Children had already finished playing and the women were in the middle of their games when the gunfire broke out, Louisville's The Courier Journal reported. Fox News reported that coaches rushed to get their players to safety after shooting broke out and as people were evacuated from the park by police. One coach told a local Fox affiliate WDRB, "There are people who won't make it home to the Thanksgiving table." The men's games were cancelled.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was just 200 yards away with his security team when the shots rang out. He made comments about the incident on Twitter. "To have people with guns so disrespect life, Shawnee Park, and neighborhood tradition is sad and has no place in our city," he wrote, acknowledging that he was there at the shooting in a follow-up tweet. "My thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those impacted by today's violence," he said before asking the public to inform the police if they have any leads.
In addition to the mayor, there was another prominent member of the community at the game. Muhammed Ali's cousin Charlotte Waddell had been talking to the mayor when the shots rang out, The Courier Journal reported. "This is the worst Thanksgiving ever, I'll never be back," Waddell told the paper. "I'm pretty shaken up." The city's homicide total for the year is at 106, just shy of 1971's record of 110, WAVE reported.
This tragic event comes as a stark reminder of what we have to be grateful for. My thoughts are with the victim's families on this unimaginably difficult day.