The Monday Morning Massacre: A Tragic Toll Across the Bridge

Another day, another series of senseless shootings – this time, they’re close to home. 

At 8:38 a.m. at Old National Bank in downtown Louisville, there was a mass shooting – only to be followed by an unrelated shooting less than two miles away around 11 a.m. at Jefferson County Technical College, where some IUS students have earned their associate degrees. As terrible as each instance is, the higher death toll was at the bank next to Slugger Field, which saw five employees killed and at least eight injured. Among those injured is Nickolas Wilt, a 26-year-old Louisville rookie officer fresh out of the police academy less than two weeks ago, who was shot in the head. According to ABC News, Wilt had brain surgery and is in critical, but stable condition. At JCTC, one person was killed, and another was injured. Events like these make you wonder: When is enough going to be enough? Is gun violence just another kink in the cogs of life?  

Connor Sturgeon, 25, was shot dead at the scene. Police say his weapon of choice was a legally purchased rifle used to kill his former colleagues at Old National BankWhile he had no criminal record, his Instagram posts just hours prior to the deadly spree appear to have foreshadowed his intent, with cryptic comments such as, “I know what I have to do, and “I could burn this whole place down.” He also livestreamed the shooting before it was taken down. Regardless, this appalling act by Sturgeon suggests he may have struggled with his mental health. 

According to the New York Post, Sturgeon was a star athlete who played football, basketball, and track while also proving himself as a capable student at Floyd Central High School, a major feeder into IUS. His friends often described him as “smart” and “popular,” with one unidentified friend going so far as to call him, “Mr. Floyd Central.” But the same friend also spoke about Sturgeon’s life before high school. He recalled Sturgeon’s prolonged absence from eighth grade classes due to frequent concussions from playing football. He had endured so many that he was pictured wearing a helmet on the basketball court. It is not yet clear whether Sturgeon had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head. 

Following the rampage, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear spoke of his personal connection to the shooting: The bank’s 63-year-old senior vice president Tommy Elliott, who was killed in the attack, was a friend of his.  

Along with Elliott, the other victims were identified as Joshua Barrick, 40, the senior vice president of commercial real estate banking, Jim Tutt, 64, a market executive, and Juliana Farmer, 45, a loan analyst. All four were Old National Bank employees on East Main Street. Around 9 p.m. Monday, the Louisville Metro Police Department confirmed the fifth death as Deana Eckert, 57. 

So, where do we go from here?  

Everyone has heard suggestions like “stricter background checks” and “better mental health care.” After seeing increased coverage on mass shootings for the past decade or more, we find ourselves debating the same question that has been echoed over and over again: how do we curb the commonality of these events?  

Overall, the issue of gun violence in the U.S. has been quite a contentious topic, with advocates on both sides of the argument. One possible solution that has gained traction in recent years is the implementation of red flag laws, which, under court order, allow for temporary confiscation of firearms from individuals who pose a risk to themselves or to others. Additionally, some have called for the ban of semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons, the latter of which are designed for military use. Others argue that the root of the problem lies in the culture of violence and the glorification of weapons in the U.S., and that a cultural shift is needed to truly address the issue. 

Whatever the solution, people want to see action to prevent more senseless violence like the one seen in Louisville. There are obvious problems with America, and the cracks in the foundation are growing by the day. How much longer will our culture be defined by constant tragedy? 

The victims and their families deserve better. Our communities deserve better. No one should have to live in fear that they—or their loved ones—might stare down someone aiming to take lives. This country is broken, and we need to change. How many more lives does it take before our thoughts and prayers become action?


A message from interim Chancellor Kelly Ryan: “I encourage any member of the IU Southeast community who has been affected by this news to seek out the variety of health and wellness resources that are available, including our Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and SupportLinc, a confidential resource that provides 24/7 access to professional counseling and referrals for faculty and staff. This is not something that you should try to resolve alone, please reach out.”