By Kyeland Jackson —
“Before I heard anything, my dog was tussling around in my bed. I could tell something was wrong.”
Moriah Dietrich lives next door to the Stop-N-Go convenience store. She was home Thursday when a store clerk was shot and killed and a car chase ended in a suspect’s arrest. She awoke to shock and confusion.
“The first thing I heard was a very loud ‘help’ that sounded like it was right by my bedroom window. After that I heard two very loud bangs,” Dietrich said through email. “The screaming persisted for about 10 minutes. I just laid there in my bed hoping it would stop.”
A few minutes later Dietrich was greeted by sirens and a loud banging at the door. Noticing the flashing red and blue lights outside, she opened the door to an officer asking if she had seen anything. Her description of what she heard gave a good description, and the officer told her to go back to sleep.
While she slept, details of the incident were slowly released. The suspect, named James Spaulding, entered the Stop-N-Go allegedly yelling for help. Spaulding got into an argument with the staff before brandishing a gun and fatally shooting a clerk. He then shot at a civilian in the store, who was not injured. Spaulding continued his shooting spree, going outside to ask for help from random homes. Spaulding was captured and arrested after a vehicle chase.
No Rave alert was sent to students regarding the shooting. When asked why an alert was not sent, U of L spokesperson John Drees cited how quickly the incident was resolved.
“Police identified and isolated the suspect so quickly – within a few minutes of the incident – that there was no imminent threat to our students,” Drees said in an email about the alert.
A media firestorm awaited when she left for work that morning. With no Rave alert, Dietrich learned of the clerk’s death and other shootings through word of mouth and press interviews. Not only did she know the clerk personally, but her neighbors’ house was shot at.
“I was shocked. I couldn’t wrap my head around why my house was skipped,” she said.
Dietrich says she no longer feels safe in her community. Efforts to increase security are being taken at The Clubhouse Apartments, located across the street from the Stop-N-Go.
The property detailed security features including deadbolts, card access points, HD cameras, alarm systems and patrolling security guards. The property plans to increase the security patrol presence in response to the incident.
“The Clubhouse offers many features that benefit our residents, including our efforts to maintain a safe environment,” said Lauren Bradford, a marketing manager for The Clubhouse’s parent company.
The news is welcome to The Clubhouse residents like Quashawn Malton, who also knows some of the clerks from the store.
“For students to feel safe, I think they’ll increase security,” Malton said. “Safety of the students is the most important thing here.”
University of Louisville Police do not plan to increase security presence. ULPD spokesperson Aaron Graham said since this was an isolated incident, the security presence is not expected to change.
“I’m moving as soon as possible,” Dietrich said. “My house was broken into in June while I was home. I just do not feel safe at all anymore in this area. Part of me wishes the university would, or could, get involved to make some sort of urban movement. We’ve made drastic strides to improve the overall look and feel of U of L’s campus to attract students. But if we can’t keep the area and the people in it feeling safe – it’s going to negatively impact the retention rate and interest in the university.”
Spaulding has been charged with murder, attempted murder and two counts of first degree wanton endangerment.
Photo by Jacob Lawson / The Louisville Cardinal