Shot dead by police, David McAtee, Louisville’s ‘BBQ Man’ used to feed officers for free

National News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CBS) — The Louisville community is mourning after a local business owner was shot and killed by law enforcement as he ran a food stand during protests early Monday. David McAtee, known as “the BBQ Man,” used to feed police officers for free, CBS affiliate WKLY-TV reports.

Hundreds gathered to remember McAtee, who was fatally shot after gunfire erupted around midnight. McAtee, who wasn’t protesting himself, was serving food at an outdoor stand past the city-mandated curfew amid the protests over the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

Jason Green, an eyewitness to the shooting and customer of McAtee’s, told WKLY that McAtee would give police officers free food.

“He talks to them, they come and hold conversations… I’ve even see one time where one cop brought him food because his granny made it,” Green said. “There’s nothing bad to say about this man. He was a good man.”

Police officers and members of the National Guard had been enforcing the city’s curfew. According to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, the shooting happened when officers and the National Guard tried to break up a large group of protesters. While working to disperse the crowd, they were fired upon and returned fire, killing McAtee, Beshear said.

Two of the officers involved in the shooting did not turn on their body cameras, which prompted the mayor to fire the police chief, Steve Conrad. Both officers have been put on administrative leave.

Kentucky State Police, the National Guard, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will all conduct investigations into the shooting of McAtee.

In February, McAtee told a local blog he’d been working for the last two years at the corner at 26th Street and Broadway — the spot of the shooting.

“This location is the one of the busiest locations in West Louisville. I always wanted to be in this spot, and when the opportunity came, I took it,” McAtee said. He told the blog he looked forward to building his business. “Eventually, I’m going to buy this lot and build,” he said. “I gotta start somewhere, and this is where I’m going to start. It might take another year or two to get to where I’m going, but I’m going to get there.”

His family spoke out on Monday, saying he was known as a “community pillar” and “was a good person.”

“All he did on that barbecue corner is try to make a dollar for himself and his family,” McAtee’s mother told the Courier-Journal. “And they come along and they killed my son.”

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