A man who killed five people and injured eight at a Louisville bank in April was motivated by outrage over gun laws he considered lax, and a hope that his rampage would highlight the ease with which he acquired an AR-15 and spur politicians into action on the issue, according to the shooter’s personal writings revealed in a police report Tuesday.
“I have decided to make an impact. These people did not deserve to die, but because I was depressed and able to buy [guns], they are gone. Perhaps this is the impact for change - upper class white people dying. I certainly would not have been able to do this were it more difficult to get a gun,” Connor Sturgeon wrote six days before the April 10 shooting at the Old National Bank where he worked.
“I know our politicians are solely focused on lining their own pockets, but maybe this will knock some sense into them. If not, good luck,” he wrote.
The police report, made public Tuesday, shares chilling details on the shooter’s thoughts and motives leading to the massacre. The 25-year-old described suffering from persistent depression, feeling inadequate and bearing the weight of nationwide issues that afflicted him, including inflation, climate disaster and a lack of mental health care. He criticized politicians, gun-interest groups and party politics for deadly gun violence, and particularly for gun laws that made getting a rifle “so easy.” These issues, he wrote, propelled his homicidal plans.
Gun violence maintains a grip on the nation. Three dozen mass shootings - The Washington Post defines these as events in which four or more people died, not including the perpetrator - have occurred this year, and larger debates rage over whether the AR-15 and similar weapons are too easy to get.
In Kentucky, Sturgeon faced no barriers to entry as a gun owner. He had no prior criminal record, which means he would have passed the federally required background check, The Post reported. The state does not have a “red-flag” law, a measure to prevent people who are reported to be potentially dangerous from buying and possessing guns.
If such a law existed in Kentucky, it still may not have prevented Sturgeon from buying the weapon. His parents never sought police intervention because they said they had no idea he had even considered buying a gun.
On April 4, Sturgeon purchased an AR-15 rifle. The rifle cost $499.99, according to a receipt in the police report. That day, he wrote about his goals to “impact” gun access, lambasted politicians “with no interest in making things better” and urged officials to “stop letting anyone buy guns or this will keep happening,” the report showed.
A day before the shooting, Sturgeon wrote that he is “definitely very sick” and continued marveling at his ability to acquire a rifle.
“OH MY GOD THIS IS SO EASY. Seriously, I knew it would be doable but this is ridiculous. Walked in and bought a gun, 4 mags, and 120 rounds for $700. Got some glasses and earplugs,” he wrote April 9. “It is legitimately unfathomable how easy this all was. . . . There is nothing anyone could have done.”
Now, he said, his “sickness wins.”
“But let us not forget the most important player here. The one who made all this possible. Lets give it up for the NRA!!” he wrote April 9. “I couldn’t have done this without all of your lobbying dollars! You really brought this whole thing together. This is the world you are building. One without any regard for the value of human life.”
Sturgeon began his rampage at his workplace the next day. He posted on his Instagram that morning: “They won’t listen to words or protests. Let’s see if they hear this,” and live-streamed the attack, the report said. Police shot and killed him at the scene.
Interviews with survivors, victims’ families and Sturgeon’s parents revealed frustration, sorrow and anger over how easy it was for someone with apparent mental health problems to obtain a semiautomatic rifle built for mass violence, The Post reported.
Some close to Sturgeon knew he was having problems. But no one knew that he had purchased a gun, according to his parents, and his psychiatrist had indicated that Sturgeon was doing better.
Surviving victims and family members said they are finalizing a lawsuit against Radical Firearms, the Texas company that produced the rifle Sturgeon used. The victims’ attorneys stated Tuesday that the release of the police report “is an important step for those personally impacted by the tragedy as well as for the community.”
“Our legal team will promptly review this report in detail as we move forward preparing for civil litigation in this matter,” said a statement from Thomas Law Offices and Romanucci and Blandin. “Most importantly, our hearts are with our clients this week as they process this painful report, while many of them have an empty seat at their Thanksgiving table or they reflect on the deep trauma they have experienced this year.”
There’s an average of 24 mass shootings a year in the United States. Dozens of people have died in shootings this year in Monterey Park, Calif.; Half Moon Bay, Calif.; Memphis; Allen, Tex; Cleveland, Tex.; and more. Last month, a gunman killed 18 people in Lewiston, Maine, the deadliest mass shooting of 2023. That man had similarly exhibited mental health struggles but was able to purchase a gun.