Standard Gravure Shooting

643 South Sixth, Louisville, KY 40202

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Quick Facts

Killer(s): Joseph Thomas Wesbecker,

Victim(s): Richard O. Barger, Kenneth Fentress, William Ganote, James G. Husband, Sharon L. L. Needy, Paul Sallee, Lloyd White, James F. Wible Sr,

Written by: Jewls Krueger

About This Location:

On September 14, 1989, 47-year-old Joseph T. Wesbecker entered his ex-workplace and made his way to the third floor. Once there, he shot and killed one receptionist, Sharon Needy, and shot and paralyzed the second, Angela Bowman. He worked his way through the hallways attempting to locate the president or managers of Standard Gravure, and killed James Husband in the process. He then left the 3rd floor and headed downstairs to the pressroom, where he killed Paul Sallee and injured two machine maintenance workers. He then made his way to the basement where he shot and killed Richard Barger, before then heading back up to the pressroom floor. He then began firing more frequently, eventually killing James Wible, Lloyd White, William Ganote, and Kenneth Fentress. As his final act, Wesbecker placed his pistol under his chin and fired, killing himself.

Wesbecker had been working at Standard Gravure for almost 20 years, but in 1986 the company was sold and Wesbecker was assigned to a position that he claimed caused him excessive stress. He requested to be moved to a different position, but it was denied, and his stress eventually caused him to be prescribed Prozac in an effort to help calm his stressed state. In late 1988, Wesbecker stopped working completely and received disability pay due to his mental state, and had an agreement with Standard Gravure that he would be able to go back to his old job once he recovered. Prior to the shooting in 1989, Standard Gravure sent him a letter announcing the end of his disability pay. This was likely the final motivation for the shooting.

The shooting took the lives of 9 people including Wesbecker, and injured almost a dozen others. It remains the deadliest shooting in Kentucky’s history.

Finding the Location

The location where the Standard Gravure building once stood is now a parking lot, and is located at 643 S 6th St in downtown Louisville, KY.