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The Family of the Louisville Shooter Speaks Out About His Last Days

The shooter who killed five people and injured nine others with a semiautomatic rifle on Monday at a bank office in Louisville had “challenges” with his mental health, according to a family spokesman, but appeared normal the day before the massacre.

Pete Palmer, a lawyer and close friend of Connor Sturgeon’s father, Todd, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that the 23-year-old had struggled with depression and anxiety, but that a mass shooting by the syndications associate and portfolio banker “was nowhere on the grid.”

Palmer claimed that before Sturgeon went to work at Old National Bank with an AR-15 he had legally acquired the week before, he sent a text message to his parents in which he expressed his love for them. It was at the same time that Sturgeon’s roommate, sales salesman Dallas Whelan, contacted Sturgeon’s mother to tell her that her son had left a frightening message in the room.

After realizing what was about to happen, Sturgeon’s mother made a frantic 911 call. (The Daily Beast’s interview requests to Whelan went unanswered.) “He’s never hurt anyone, he’s a really good kid…We don’t even own guns,” Lisa Sturgeon told the 911 operator. “I don’t know where he would have gotten a gun.”

When asked what was said in the note, Palmer stated on Wednesday, “it was something about suicide and referenced something [happening] at the bank.” “I do know, having spoken to the roommate very, very briefly, he had no idea, either,” Palmer said.

“They had had a very typical day the day before, nothing unusual. I think in these situations, people look retrospectively, ‘Did I miss a word, did I miss a message, did I miss a cry for help?’ And they’ve done all that, and come up with nothing that was amiss.”

On Wednesday, Palmer acknowledged that Sturgeon had sustained numerous concussions while playing high school football, requiring him to wear a protective helmet even when engaging in non-contact sports like basketball. Palmer stated that Sturgeon’s head injuries “took him out of action for days, weeks, and months,” which could have contributed to his problems down the line.

“There are questions from the family whether CTE or something neurological might have contributed,” Palmer said. “They don’t know. It’s being examined by medical professionals, as well. And that’s all the information they really have right now.”

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Palmer stressed that he is assisting the family deal with the media and that he “also happens to be a lawyer.” “There’s not a narrative in which I want it to seem the family has ‘lawyered up,’” he said, noting, “They’re not gun people, they’re not agenda people.”

At 8:38 a.m. on a Monday, as the bank branch was getting ready to open for the week, the violence broke out. Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel of Louisville said Sturgeon streamed the incident live on Facebook and later deleted the video. An unidentified city official told CNN that Sturgeon was greeted by a colleague upon his arrival in the footage.

Sturgeon allegedly told the woman, “You need to get out of here,” before pointing his gun at her and firing. However, there was no effect because the gun was unloaded and the safety was engaged. Sturgeon removed the gun’s safety and loaded the weapon before firing a shot into the woman’s back. (It’s not known if she made it or not.)

A bank worker at another Old National branch was the first to dial 911 after witnessing the murder of her colleagues via a Microsoft Teams video conference. “Oh my God, oh my God, there’s an active shooter there,” she told the operator.

“I see somebody on the floor,” the woman said. “We heard multiple shots and everybody started saying, ‘Oh my God.’” The fatal shooting also injured three police officers. When Officer Nickolas Wilt was shot in the head, he had only been on the job for 11 days.

Angela Ingram, a spokesperson for the Louisville Metro Police Department, said in an email that he is in the hospital and “fighting for his life.

In an essay written in 2018, while attending the University of Alabama, Sturgeon wrote that he struggled with self-esteem and making friends, contradicting what a former friend of Sturgeon’s from Floyd Central High School in Floyds Knob, Indiana, told The Daily Beast.

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