LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Two teenagers were shot near the route of the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Pegasus Parade on Thursday, and two 15-year-old boys were being questioned, Louisville police said.
Both victims were taken to a hospital with injuries that didn’t appear to be life-threatening, Police Chief Steve Conrad said. He identified them as a 17-year-old boy believed to be known by the teens who were apprehended and a 14-year-old girl.
“She appears to be an innocent bystander, based on what I know at this time,” Conrad said at a news conference.
The shooting occurred shortly after 6:30 p.m. in the area of Fourth Street and Broadway, a main intersection in downtown Louisville that is along the parade route. The parade began at 5 p.m., and people were standing and sitting about two deep along the route to watch.
“What is so incredibly frustrating is the fact that you’ve got a day marred like this with violence,” Conrad said.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said 100,000 or more people attended the parade, one of the events held during a week of festivities leading up to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Amanda Dunaway was watching the parade pass by from the front row of the bleachers outside of her office at the corner of Fourth Street and Broadway. She heard two shots erupt from the sidewalk behind her, turned her head and saw the smoke from the gunfire.
She threw her two daughters, 6 and 10 years old, onto the street and dove on top to shield them.
“I was so afraid,” she said. “We didn’t know where they were, where they’d go, if more people would come and start shooting again. We just didn’t know.”
Her girls were trembling and crying. She was so stunned she can’t remember if she screamed or cried.
Next to her, her daughter-in-law, Ashley Marlow, tried to fold her body over her 9-month-old son.
Marlow looked up and saw kids running away around the corner and two young people being wheeled into ambulances. They were on the ground they think for 10 minutes or more, too afraid to get up.
“I’ve never been so scared,” said Dunaway, who lives across the river in Corydon, Indiana. “I’m from a small town. I never imagined I’d experience anything like this.”
Nearby, 10-year-old Carter Wilson heard people shouting, then counted two shots. He was at the parade with his mother and four other children. They huddled behind a concrete pillar. He said he saw people running and police officers chasing them. On the sidewalk, he saw someone lying on the ground; he could see only the bottoms of their shoes.
“There was so much screaming and running,” the boy said. “It was so scary.”
Police taped off a stretch of sidewalk behind the bleachers and the parade continued on.
Dunaway didn’t want to stay. But police told her the parking garage was blocked off and she wouldn’t be able to get her car. She sat watching a marching band pass by, cradling her daughters in her lap.
“I just want to go home,” she said.
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