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The Louisville Protest Shooting Victim was a 27-Year-Old Photographer

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On Saturday, a gunman fired at anti-police brutality protesters in Louisville’s Jefferson Square Park, killing one person. That individual has now been identified as Tyler Gerth, a 27-year-old photographer who had been working to document the movement.

Jefferson Square has been occupied in recent days by people protesting police violence, particularly the March killing of African-American emergency room technician Breonna Taylor, who was shot to death in her home by police executing a no-knock search warrant.

Suspect Steven Nelson Lopez reportedly opened fire on the large crowd of protesters at around 9pm on Saturday after he had been asked to leave his camping spot in the park by other protesters for “disruptive behavior,” according to Mayor Greg Fischer.

Gerth was struck in the head, found lying unresponsive in the middle of the park, and pronounced dead on the scene by responding officers. He was identified by the coroner the following day.

On his Instagram page, Gerth described himself as a world-traveling photographer who captured beauty as he journeyed through life.

“Be excellent to each other,” Gerth quoted.

In recent days, Gerth had been turning his attention from capturing the world’s beauty to using his camera to document the movement against racism and police brutality.

“What is happening around country is horrible and white people need stand up and show our support for black people who aren’t treated equally by the law,” Gerth wrote in one Instagram post. “If things are to change we need be loud and stand together. We are all equal in the eyes of God.”

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Took this today. For the fifth straight day a group of people were downtown protesting after David McAtee, a small business owner, was killed by police officers and was left dead in the street for more than 12 hours. A lot of these protesters in the image are white people holding up signs telling us to “End White Silence”. That is exactly what we need to do. Just because it doesn’t happen to you doesn’t mean you should sit on the side line and watch. What is happening around country is horrible and white people need stand up and show our support for black people who aren’t treated equally by the law. If things are to change we need be loud and stand together. We are all equal in the eyes of God #blacklivesmatter #protests #justiceforall #standup #standtogether ##davidmcatee #louisville #kentucky #breonnataylor #georgefloyd #endwhitesilence

A post shared by Tyler Gerth (@gerthyimages) on

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As the crowd marched away this young man led the way singing an heartfelt rendition of “A Change is gonna come” by legendary artist Sam Cooke. Greta Van Fleet also covered this song. His voice was chilling as these words hit me hard. “It’s been a long time coming, long time coming. But I know a change goin’ come.” When I thought about this song was from the Mid 1960s and over half a century later black people are still not treated equally and given the opportunities white people, like me, have taken for granted. These protests across America have be a long time coming and if we unite peacefully and continue to make our voices heard, change is gonna come. #blacklivesmatter #standup #standtogether #peace #peacefulprotest #love #justice #endwhitesupremacy #equalrights #louisville #kentucky #photography #photos #everythinglouisville

A post shared by Tyler Gerth (@gerthyimages) on

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Earlier tonight a group of protesters peacefully marched through down they left from Jefferson Square Park down to River Road then back up 3rd street towards Chestnut. One of the largest groups i have seen yet. The March seemed to be about 3-4 blocks long full of people. Chants for Breonna Taylor and no just, no peace where echoes throughout the march. The way the people of this community have come together in solidarity is truly moving. Until the politicians, men and women we elected to represent our best interest, make changes to injustice black people receive we will continue to see protests throughout the country. Our Senator @senatemajldr speaks about us being united in the horror of injustice for black people. As Majority Leader he should be letting us know how he plans to pass legislation to combat these unfair treatment of our black citizens. Until there is change I do not see an end to protests, for good reason. I am so proud of everyone who showed up tonight to show support. #blacklivesmatter #blm #justiceforbreonnataylor #justice #change #standtogether #unitedwestand #peace #love #protest #everythinglouisville #kentucky #photography

A post shared by Tyler Gerth (@gerthyimages) on

Gerth’s family has set up a GoFundMe campaign for a Tyler Gerth Memorial Fund.

“[W]e want to continue his legacy by supporting charitable organizations that fight social and racial injustices,” Gerth’s sisters write. “Tyler’s passion and drive to be a part of the movement has inspired us all and we will continue to fight and advocate for the peace and justice he gave his life in service of […] In lieu of flowers, please consider donating as we partner with Tyler for change.”

His sisters also shared the last text message Gerth sent one of them after he had an encounter with an armed person at a protest that had been peaceful.

“It was scary. For a second, I thought, ‘What if he shoots me?'” Gerth wrote in the message. “But just like when I travel to shoot photography alone, I don’t let fear prevent me from living my life, and I wasn’t going to let fear prevent me from doing what is right.

“For too long, we have been silent and not standing up. No more.”

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