The shooting occurred at Shawnee Park, where a youth football tournament called the Juice Bowl is held every year on Thanksgiving Day.
Louisville Metro Police said officers responded to a call of multiple shootings at Shawnee Park on Thursday afternoon. Police said there were no suspects in custody and they had not established a motive for the shooting, which occurred during an annual football tournament that dates back to the 1950s.
Dwight Mitchell, spokesman for the Louisville Metro Police Department, said that as yet, no one is aware of the motive for the shooting. Mitchell told reporters that the four survivors suffered non-life-threatening injuries and had been taken to the hospital.
The police spokesman said the department has not made any arrests, and are still searching for possible suspects.
“When you have a tragedy like this take place, certainly it puts a damper on anyone celebrating,” Mitchell said. The event began in the 1950s and families are known to arrive at the park early on Thursday to secure prime seats for the all-day community celebration.
Reports said that the shootings occurred about 200 yards from the annual Juice Bowl football games, which were attended by Mayor Greg Fisher. Fischer said he attended the tournament and was about 150 yards from the shooting.
“To have people with guns so disrespect life, Shawnee Park, and neighborhood tradition is sad and has no place in our city,” he said.
The Louisville’s mayor asked people with information on the shooting to contact police, noting that there had been a recent uptick in homicides in the city. Spokesman Chris Poynter says the mayor attends the event every year, and while it was an “alarming” situation, Fisher was never in danger.
Gunshots rang out in the afternoon just after children finished playing football and two women’s teams were playing a flag football game, according to reports. The men’s games scheduled for the afternoon were cancelled.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that U.S. President Barack Obama earlier met with his national security team and directed them to ensure a safe Thanksgiving holiday season for all Americans.
A statement issued by the White House, said Obama, at the meeting with his Counterterrorism and Home Security Team, also “thanked those standing watch on behalf of our country”.
“This morning, the President convened members of his national security team to review our comprehensive domestic and international efforts to protect the American people during this holiday season.
“The President commended the continued cooperation between federal, state and local authorities to ensure public safety.
“He directed that all agencies maintain vigilance to ensure we are best postured to defend the homeland and prevent attacks by individualized radicalized to violence,” the statement read.