LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Tributes were growing Monday for the five people slain in a shooting at a Louisville bank, with friends sharing details of their lives and mourners gathering at vigils.
Details were also emerging about some of the wounded, including a rookie officer who was just recently sworn in.
Louisville’s former Mayor Greg Fischer said he’d known 63-year-old Tommy Elliott, one of those killed, for 40 years. He likes to tell a story about how they met: Elliott was a young banker and Fischer was a young businessman. They were both ambitious and “wet behind the ears,” Fischer said. Elliott called him up and said he wanted to be his personal banker.
“I reminded him that my net worth was less than $5,000 and thought he was crazy,” Fischer said. “I said, ‘Your prospect list must be getting pretty bad, Tommy, to be calling me.’”
Fischer said that story highlights Elliott’s work ethic and his ability to see things in people they might not see in themselves.
“He got great joy out of helping people and seeing people succeed,” he said.
They became close friends, and when Fischer launched his first bid to be mayor, Elliott signed on to be his campaign finance manager and remained with him the rest of his political career.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Morgan McGarvey, who represents Louisville, knew Elliott for years and said, “It’s unimaginable to me that he’s not here.”
“He enjoyed life,” McGarvey said. “He enjoyed people. He enjoyed being in the mix. He enjoyed trying to get stuff done to move Louisville and Kentucky forward. He was serious about it, but he had fun with it.”
Elliott’s network of friends included Louisville native Lonnie Ali, the wife of the late boxing great Muhammad Ali. She pointed to his sense of humor and his commitment to his community.
“Tommy was such a warm, wonderful, funny, kind guy,” she said. “Just the sweetest person. And it’s just such a huge loss, not just to his friends and family, but to the community. Because that’s what Tommy was about. Tommy was about community.”
“I’m going to miss him so much,” she added.
Fischer said Elliott was a devoted family man. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and two stepdaughters. Fischer said it’s hard for him to imagine the hole that’s been left for them.
Nine others, including two police officers, were treated for injuries from the shooting. One of the officers, 26-year-old Nickolas Wilt, graduated from police academy March 31. He was in critical condition Monday after being shot in the head and having surgery. The police department said on Twitter that Wilt “ran towards the gunfire today to save lives.”
The other slain victims included Joshua Barrick, Juliana Farmer and James Tutt. A fifth victim, Deana Eckert, died later, police announced Monday night.
Hundreds gathered Monday evening at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, where Barrick was an active member. The church placed a photo of him with a wide smile on its alter, as well as a second of Barrick with his wife and two young children.
“He was so well known, he made himself known,” said Pastor Shayne Duvall. “This community is mourning. We’re trying to wrap our heads around it.”
Duvall remembered Barrick as a big guy with a bubbly personality who coached basketball for the the first and second graders at the parish’s grade school. He described him as “very charismatic, very charming” and said Barrick was among the first who welcomed him when he came to the church less than a year ago.
Barrick had worked for about two decades in banking and previously worked at WesBanco, according to The Courier-Journal. Louisville Business First named him one of its 20 People to Know in Banking in 2020.
Tutt was a Frankfort native who graduated from the University of Kentucky and worked in banking for over 38 years, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegele told the Courier-Journal that Tutt served on the Oldham-La Grange Development Authority from 2011-2022, including a number of years as its chair.
“He added a tremendous amount of insights as we went about developing our office park in LaGrange,” Voegele said. “He’s a very high quality, well-thought-of individual … It’s just sickening to hear what’s happened.”
Farmer, a loan officer, was a mother and grandmother, according to the Herald-Leader.
While mourning her friend and the other shooting victims in her hometown, Lonnie Ali lamented that “there is no place on this earth that we are safe as citizens.”
“You always have to be aware of everything going on around you,” said Ali, who is carrying on the humanitarian causes her husband championed. “And it scares me to death — not really so much for me, but for my grandchildren, my children, my friends.”