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National Guard cook shot dead – said to have opened fire

Another case of state violence: According to investigators, a cook in the US state of Kentucky was shot by the National Guard after he shot himself. David McAtee was fatally killed on May 31 while cooking several miles from protests against racist police violence at his restaurant, J. Michael Brown, secretary of the Kentucky State Executive Cabinet, said Tuesday. “It is clear that the fatal shot came from the National Guard,” said Brown. “We have no doubt about it.”

The Louisville police and national guardsmen had responded to a report of a gathering of people in the area, Brown said. A video from the Louisville police showed officers handing off rounds of pepper where McAtee was cooking. Brown said he believed McAtee was the first to fire live ammunition. The National Guard replied the shots, “what every police officer would do in the case.” McAtee was hit in the chest once and died on the spot. According to Brown, investigators found two cartridge cases from McAtee’s weapon and residue from gunshots on his body. The Kentucky police had examined shrapnel from McAtee’s body, which fits the National Guard rifles.

The National Guard was in town to help enforce a curfew. Louisville had also demonstrated against racist police violence after the death of George Floyd in police violence in Minneapolis and the death of Breonna Taylor from Louisville. Taylor was shot dead by police officers while searching her home in March.

The Louisville police video clearly shows McAtee shooting out the door of his restaurant while officials fire projectiles. A video from another camera shows a beverage container exploding on a table outside the building and falling to the floor just before smoke escapes from inside the building where McAtee was standing.

The family’s lawyer said Monday that the investigators should publish all the videos related to the shots. Officials should take responsibility and apologize for the use of violence. McAtee’s niece was hit several times by pepper bullets when she was standing in the door of the restaurant. The mayor of Louisville, Greg Fischer, dismissed chief of police Steve Conrad because the officers hadn’t run their body cams during the operation.

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