LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Knife wielding suspect shot in leg.


It has happened again: a police officer shot a suspect Wednesday while trying to make an arrest, but this time the officer's actions are drawing praise instead of criticism from witnesses at the scene. The woman, whose identity was not immediately released, was shot in the thigh, was taken to University Hospital. She's expected to make a full recovery.

In the past, Louisville police have been accused of having a quick trigger finger, and when officers fired their weapons, people in the community have fired back, saying police are too quick to use deadly force. But witnesses to Wednesday's shooting told WAVE News the arresting officers did everything in their power to avoid firing. Louisville Metro Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell says it all started when police tried to serve a mental inquest warrant o­n a woman living at the Greenwood Place Apartments o­n Bullrush Court in Pleasure Ridge Park Wednesday afternoon. "When officers arrived, they were confronted by a female at the door wielding a knife.""They told her to put the knife down," says Brenda Wolfe, who lives in the apartment across the stairwell. "I really look up to the policemen because they did a very good job of handling all this."Mitchell says "pepper spray was used o­n her as well as batons, but neither worked. She was shot o­ne time because she became very aggressive."Rebecca and Ray Lawrence have complained about the woman being arrested before. They were shocked by the turn of events, but not surprised. Rebecca says "I'm sorry it happened. But I told the manager I said you have to do something because everybody's complaining." This is the first time since the Michael Newby shooting in January that a police officer has fired a weapon during an arrest -- and the outcome is proof of a renewed emphasis o­n use of non-lethal force. "What we now train o­n is how we employ everything from verbal commands and communicating verbally to using the appropriate technology for what you're confronted with," says Bob Stewart, Director of Louisville Metro Police Training.They are techniques that officers have always been taught, but with renewed focus since Chief White revised the department's use of force policy more than a year ago. "Historically, in our old training, we really did come to use of force training and we were out o­n a target and shooting," Stewart says.Now there's just as much practice with the pepper spray and batons like those officers tried to use Wednesday. However, Stewart says aiming for the thigh is not in the police handbook. "We don't instruct our officers to shoot to wound. In fact, police are taught to shoot center mass -- directly at the target's chest. Why officer Shannon Harris shot the woman in the leg is still under investigation. Officer Brad Harris, Shannon's brother, was with his sister during the arrest, and suffered cuts to his hands. Louisville Metro Police will soon be equipped with another non-lethal weapon: taser guns.