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Louisville Bank Shooter's Parents Said There Were No Signs Of Violence: 'We’re Always Saying Do No Harm'

Todd and Lisa Sturgeon, the parents of Louisville bank mass shooter Connor Sturgeon, apologized to his victims' families, discussed his mental health issues and spoke out against easy access to assault weapons.

By Gina Salamone
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The parents of a 25-year-old man who sprayed bullets at a downtown Louisville, Kentucky, bank where he worked, killing five colleagues, said that there were no signs he was capable of such violence before the deadly incident that occurred on April 10. 

Connor Sturgeon had been struggling with mental health issues for about a year, including anxiety and panic attacks and was seeing a psychiatrist and taking meds, his parents, Todd and Lisa Sturgeon, told NBC's TODAY in an interview that aired Thursday.

RELATED: Louisville Bank Employee Livestreamed Fatal Attack On Coworkers

But they said there was no indication he would ever commit violence at this level. “I’m afraid that whatever we come up with as the cause still isn’t going to make sense,” Todd said of any reason behind the attack, which was carried out at Old National Bank on East Main St. with an AR-15-style rifle. Eight others were injured in the incident. 

Sturgeon died exchanging gunfire with police shortly after they arrived on the scene. “It would have been bad enough if we had just lost our son,” Lisa said. “But for him to take others with us — with him — it’s just — it’s beyond what we’ve taught him, the way we live. We’re always saying do no harm. He didn’t do that.”

Todd and Lisa Sturgeon on the TODAY Show

Todd added that the couple was hesitant to do an interview. “We have a concern about inadvertently being disrespectful to the families,” he said on TODAY, adding that they're waiting for the right time to contact the victims of their son's shooting spree.

Lisa did take the opportunity to apologize to the victims' families in the interview. “We are so sorry," she said. "We are heartbroken. We wish we could undo it, but we know we can’t.”

The grieving mom also shared that she first learned something was wrong when her son's roommate called her the morning of shootings, telling her that her son said he was "going to go in and shoot up Old National.” She added that she thought at the time, "Where did he get a gun? We don’t have guns.”

Lisa also recalled thinking after the life-changing phone call: “There’s no way this is happening. Please stop him. Please make sure nobody gets hurt."

She said she hurried to the bank and phoned police, but her son had already arrived at his place of work. "He punished others,” she said. “He took others’ lives.”

Todd said he was driving when he learned of shots at the bank, remembering, "You go from praying for his life to praying that this is unimaginable, that he just commits suicide and doesn’t hurt anyone else."

Of Sturgeon's mental health problems, his parents said that he seemed to be getting better while under the care of professionals and taking his medicine. But he suffered a setback in the days before the mass shooting.

"He called me on the Tuesday before the event," Lisa said, "and he said, ‘I had a panic attack yesterday and ... I had to leave work."

The mom said she told him that his family was there to help. She met him for lunch the following morning and made an appointment with his psychiatrist for the next day, which was several days before the shooting. Sturgeon and his parents were all on the video call with his doctor. Lisa now says that her son seemed to be “coming out of the crisis" after the call.

The last time Sturgeon's parents saw him was on Easter, a day before the shooting.

Sturgeon legally purchased the weapon he used to kill, which his parents say should not have been possible.

“What we’re hoping to do is stimulate some conversation around this,” Todd said. “I think the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t want people in an impaired state to have a weapon in their hand."

Lisa added, “How many mass shootings have there been this calendar year already? It has been happening to other people like us, and we’re continuing to let it happen — and we have to fix that.”

The couple also shared that they can't help but feel guilt for what unfolded.

“Well-meaning people keep saying to us, ‘You know, you did what any reasonable parents would have done,’" Todd said. "But Connor in his darkest hour needed us to be exceptional, not reasonable — and we failed him."

Lisa said, “We failed those people."

The five victims who were killed are: Josh Barrick, 40; Deana Eckert, 57; Tommy Elliott, 63; Juliana Farmer, 45; and Jim Tutt, 64.

The mass shooting also made headlines because Sturgeon livestreamed part of the attack

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