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Scores turn out for a vigil in Louisville to honor 5 people killed in mass shooting

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Hundreds attended a vigil in Louisville on Wednesday for the five people who were killed in Monday's mass shooting at a bank. Ryan Van Velzer of Louisville Public Media reports it was an emotional service to remember those who died.

RYAN VAN VELZER, BYLINE: Hundreds filed into an outdoor amphitheater at the Muhammad Ali Center for an evening vigil. Five people I spoke to had their own stories of how gun violence in this city had personally affected them. Lavel White laid his sister to rest on the day of the bank shooting.

LAVEL WHITE: She got killed last Sunday at the gas station at Platinum Foods, and then I saw this on the news as I was getting ready to iron my clothes.

VAN VELZER: Organizers described the vigil as a show of resilience and to pay respects to those employees killed inside the bank - Joshua Barrick, Deana Eckert, Tommy Elliott, Juliana Farmer and Jim Tutt Jr. Louisville Mayor Craig Greenburg and Governor Andy Beshear were there to offer condolences, praise the Louisville Metro Police Department and remember their mutual friend, Tommy Elliott. Here's Beshear.

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ANDY BESHEAR: I lost one of my best friends on Monday, but I've got two friends and more that survived because LMPD got there in about three minutes.

VAN VELZER: Louisville's a city of more than 600,000 people, but Democratic Congressman Morgan McGarvey explained how it's still small enough for people to be separated by just a couple degrees of connection.

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MORGAN MCGARVEY: Well, when I was in the operating room today with the brave doctors and nurses, they talked about knowing the people they were trying to save.

VAN VELZER: And there was anger, particularly from the medical community who have spent the last few days railing about the gun violence here. Here's Dr. Muhammad Babar.

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MUHAMMAD BABAR: Whether you own a gun or not, please do something because we all just want this epidemic of death to end, which is wearing down our nation.

VAN VELZER: In Louisville, 40 people have died from gunshot wounds so far this year. Last Monday, bank employee Emily Goodlett was almost one of them.

EMILY GOODLETT: I told my husband I loved him when the shooting was happening. (Crying) And I thought it was the end when they kept getting closer. And just to be able to make it out alive - I don't - there's not words. There's not a story. There's not any way I can present it to be better for anybody.

VAN VELZER: Goodlett says she feels loss, confusion, remorse, sympathy and gratitude that she's still alive and that the city supports her.

For NPR News, I'm Ryan Van Velzer in Louisville.

(SOUNDBITE OF ELSON COMPLEX'S "ELIXIR") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ryan Van Velzer