A BBQ Chef Famous For Feeding His Community Died After Apparently Being Shot By Police

A Louisville man and local BBQ chef, owner of Yaya’s BBQ, was killed after police officers and the Kentucky National Guard “returned fire” on a gathering of people outside of Western Louisville’s Dino’s Food Mart early Monday morning. The victim has since been identified by family members as David McAtee, a well-loved chef, and owner of a roving barbecue joint that often serviced the community near the Dino’s Food Mart.

According to Buzzfeed News, who spoke with Louisville Metro Council President and longtime friend David James, McAtee, 53, spent much of his free time invested in local events, donating time and food towards the community and often fed police officers for free.

“He loved people. He loved to cook and he cooked for anybody,” says James, “He was just a really good person who used to give free food to people in the neighborhood and to police officers.”

According to Louisville police chief Steve Conrad — who has since been fired — local officers and members of the Kentucky National Guard were dispatched to the Dino’s Food Mart on 26th street and Broadway at 12:15 am early Monday morning in an effort to clear a crowd from the parking lot (the city had a 6pm curfew in place). Conrad claimed that while clearing the lot, officers and soldiers were fired upon and promptly returned fire at the crowd. The city is not disputing that McAtee was unarmed.

Eater reports that early Monday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear had called for the release of body camera footage from the incident by Monday evening and ordered the Kansas State Police to investigate the shooting. Later in the day, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced that police did not have their body cameras turned on, which promptly led to police chief Steve Conrad’s firing.

Conrad — who will receive his full pension according to Fischer — faced criticism just two months ago after Louisville police in plain clothes falsely entered the home of Breonna Taylor in the middle of the night and discharged a spray of bullets that fatally wounded her after boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired his own gun at one of the officers, thinking they were intruders. Mother Jones reports that under Kentucky’s Stand Your Ground Law, Walker was within his rights as a legally registered gun owner to use deadly force on an intruder in his home. Walker has since been charged with attempted murder. Neither Taylor nor Walker had a criminal record for drugs or violence.

Outrage continued to boil over in Louisville and across social media as McAtee’s body was left in the streets until 10:45 am on Monday morning, 12 hours after his death.

McAtee’s mother, Odessa Riley, told the Courier-Journal, “He left a great legend behind. He was a good person. Everybody around him would say that,” she said. “My son didn’t hurt nobody. He didn’t do nothing to nobody.”

This story is developing. A GoFundMe for McAtee’s family can be found here, started by well-known activist/ writer/ podcast host Adia Osman.