By Sharon Bernstein
(Reuters) - A popular black restaurateur was fatally shot in Kentucky early on Monday as police and National Guard troops fired weapons while dispersing a crowd protesting against police killings of African Americans.
The chief of police in Louisville was fired and two officers placed on administrative leave after authorities learned the officers had fired their weapons without using body cameras to record what happened, Mayor Greg Fischer said at a press briefing on Monday.
"We had a horrible tragedy last night at 26th and Broadway," Fischer said. "We lost a wonderful citizen named David McAtee."
The death of McAtee, who owned YaYa's BBQ near the site of the shooting, marked the second time Louisville police did not use their body cameras during a shooting incident in which an unarmed black resident was killed.
Like protesters across the country, the Louisville marchers were incensed by the treatment of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died in Minneapolis police custody after being pinned beneath a white officer’s knee for nearly nine minutes. But they were also protesting against the Louisville officers who shot 26-year-old Breonna Taylor while serving a "no knock" search warrant at her apartment.
Protests over racial inequality have engulfed the nation's major cities for a week, as officials extended curfews in hopes of preventing a seventh night of looting and vandalism over the death of Floyd.
Details were not immediately available about the circumstances of McAtee's death, Fischer said.
He added, however, that authorities know two Louisville police officers and two National Guard soldiers had fired their weapons. The officers say they returned fire after someone shot at them, Fischer said.
Kentucky Governor Andy Bashear, a Democrat, promised an exhaustive investigation.
"My pledge is that we will give you the truth, no matter what the truth is," he told a news conference.
(This story has been refiled to say "while dispersing" in lead paragraph instead of "to disperse")
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California, Editing by Tom Brown)