Earlier this month, a bank employee, who believed he was about to be fired, entered the Old National Bank in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, before the bank was open to the public. Carrying a rifle and handgun, Connor Sturgeon, 23, killed five and wounded eight, including two officers.
Responding officers used lethal force to stop Sturgeon, 23, who repeatedly fired at officers.
Recently Connor’s parents, Lisa and Todd Sturgeon spoke about how shocked and sorry they were about their son’s actions, saying they were “heartbroken” and “wish we could undo it, but we know we can’t.”
Lisa and Todd shared their comments during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show. The parents disclosed they were aware their son struggled with mental health issues but were unaware he had weapons and never imagined he would harm others.
Todd Sturgeon told NBC News host Savannah Guthrie: “I’m afraid that whatever we come up with as the cause still isn’t going to make sense.”
Lisa Sturgeon added that they were engaged parents and did not see any signs of violent behavior.
The parents noted their son was on medication and seeing a psychiatrist. NBC News noted there had been an attempted suicide in the past but that Connor’s mental state had improved.
Lisa believes Connor’s mental state shifted about six days before the shooting. “He called me on Tuesday before the event … and he said, ‘I had a panic attack yesterday and … I had to leave work’ … and that he needed to take some time off,” Lisa said, adding, “I told him ‘That’s fine. We’re here to help you.'”
Lisa added that she had lunch with Connor the next day and accompanied him to an appointment with a psychiatrist the following day, five days before the shooting.
“We had no real indications that something like this could have happened. There was no clear tell,” she said.
Empathizing with those injured in the attack, particularly those who lost a loved one, Lisa said: “It would have been bad enough if we had just lost our son,” Lisa said. “But for him to take others with us — with him — it’s just — it’s beyond what we’ve taught him, the way we live. We’re always saying, ‘Do no harm.’ He didn’t do that.”
Those killed in the shooting were Tommy Elliott, 63, a senior vice president; Jim Tutt, 64, a market executive; Joshua Barrick, 40, another senior vice president; Juliana Farmer, 45, a commercial loan specialist; and Deana Eckert, 57, an executive administrative officer.
Two officers were among the eight nonfatal injuries. A rookie police officer, Nickolas Wilt, 26, suffered a critical brain injury, and officer Cory Galloway was grazed in the shoulder in a shootout with Connor.
Authorities announced that Sturgeon left behind a disturbing 13-page manifesto, which reportedly detailed his plan to kill co-workers as they participated in an early morning conference call at the bank.
The Sturgeons reiterated that it appeared their son was “coming out of the crisis” after meeting with his psychiatrist.
Lisa shared that Connor’s roommate called her on the morning of the shooting, warning that Connor said he was “going to go in and shoot up Old National.”
The disturbing call was about impossible to process, recounted Lisa. She thought, “Where did he get a gun? We don’t have guns. …There’s no way this is happening. Please stop him. Please make sure nobody gets hurt.”
Todd recalled being in his car when he learned about gunfire at the bank. “You go from praying for his life to praying that this is unimaginable,” Tom said, adding through tears that he prayed that “he just commits suicide and doesn’t hurt anyone else.”
The couple said, “What we’re hoping to do is stimulate some conversation around this. I think the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t want people in an impaired state to have a weapon in their hand.”
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