The owner of a popular barbecue restaurant in Louisville who was known to give cops free meals was shot and killed by law enforcement officers Monday during a police accountability protest.
David McAtee, 53, owner of Yaya’s BBQ Shack, was known as a pillar to the community, a man who would feed people for free, including police. His friends and family say he was also feeding the protesters.
McAtee had joined a large group of people who were protesting on a street corner when Louisville Metro police and the National Guard arrived to break it up. They say somebody in the crowd fired at them so they opened fire, killing McAtee – who was not the one shooting at them. Activists say they left his body in the street for 12 hours.
Two Louisville cops and two National Guardsmen were said to have fired the shots. The two cops did not have their body cameras activated as required by departmental policy. The incident has led to the termination of Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad who had already been coming under pressure to quit in the wake of the Breonna Taylor death.
Nobody has been arrested for shooting at the cops but cops claim they have suspects.
This is how the chief explained the incident before he was fired, according to the Courier-Journal:
McAtee is known to many in the Russell neighborhood as the barbeque man, and was often stationed in food mart’s parking lot. On Monday morning, former LMPD Chief Steve Conrad told the public that around 12:15 a.m., someone from the crowd shot at authorities.
Police returned fire, killing McAtee. No one else was injured.
Conrad said it is unclear if the victim was the person who fired at officers, but there are “several persons of interest” who were being interviewed following the shooting.
Surveillance footage and police radio transmissions were released by LMPD Monday evening, but there don’t appear to be any clear-cut answers. Acting Chief Rob Schroeder said the two officers who fired weapons were either not wearing cameras or did not have them activated.
This is how friends and family described McAtee, according to The Courier-Journal:
“Mr. McAtee would help us with Californian Day for at least 15 years, if not longer,” Greg Cotton, Jr., who lives in Middletown, said in an interview Monday. “He was one of the ones who would donate all his time and all his food; everybody could just come up and take it and he wouldn’t charge because it was for the neighborhood.”
McAtee’s mother and his nephew told The Courier Journal that he was known to feed police as well. The two said he would give law enforcement officers free meals.
“He fed them free,” Riley said. “He fed the police and didn’t charge them nothing.
“My son was a good son. All he did on that barbecue corner is try to make a dollar for himself and his family,” she added. “And they come along and they killed my son.”
Metro Council President David James described McAtee as a personal friend who cared about the California neighborhood and all other parts of the West End. He said the local chef was knowledgeable about what was going on in the neighborhood and the city, and always would offer free food to those in need and others.
“He’s just a good, decent person,” James said. “He believes in this neighborhood. He loves his city, loves his neighborhood, loves to cook food, loves to keep people happy with his sense of humor. He’s just a great guy.”
Kentucky Governor Greg Beshear has asked Kentucky State Police to investigate the shooting along with internal affairs which we all know can never be trusted. Click on the video below to see the governor discuss the incident.