LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For the first time, we are seeing video of the shooting inside Fayette Mall that left a man dead and another charged with his murder.
LEX 18 has obtained security video of the day dozens of shoppers ran for cover last August. The incident created chaos in and outside the mall as first responders rushed to the scene.
The video is part of the court case against Xavier Hardin. Police say he is the one who shot and killed 17-year-old Kenneth Bottoms on August 23, 2020, after a verbal argument. Two bystanders were also hurt.
According to court records, Hardin's attorneys state he shot Bottoms in self-defense. Court documents state, "The video evidence in this case clearly shows the alleged victim, Kenneth Bottoms, and three other individuals follow the Defendant in Fayette Mall, surround him at every turn he makes until they block him into a position in front of Bath & Body Works where the shooting subsequently occurred." They claim the video evidence shows Bottoms and others surround Hardin at every turn.... following, harassing, threatening, and ultimately trapping him, leaving Hardin no choice but to defend himself.
In the video, you can see Hardin backing away from the group seconds before he shoots Bottoms.
Hardin's attorneys claim the video shows Hardin tried to avoid the group who they believe came to the mall for a reason. They wrote that the gun Bottoms was carrying had a round in the chamber and was ready to be fired.
Prosecutors plan to take Hardin to trial. He's charged with murder, two counts of assault 2nd and one count of wanton endangerment.
As court papers show, his attorneys believe Hardin was targeted and living in constant fear for his life after being a victim of two separate shootings. They include one in November of 2019 which killed his friend, Darius Bolden, who was sitting next to him in a car. The other happened two weeks before the mall incident when people in a van shot at him.
Two of the three men who were with Bottoms that day are charged with tampering with physical evidence. Police say Nasir Lyons and Cion Townsend took evidence from Bottoms as he was lying on the mall floor dying.
Police and prosecutors stand behind the charges and will fight to keep Hardin behind bars.