Shaquille Taylor is the man accused in the shooting death of Belmont University student Jillian Ludwing, according to Metro Nashville police in Tennessee.
Taylor, 29, “is being charged with agg assault & evidence tampering for Tue afternoon’s shooting of Belmont Univ student Jillian Ludwig, 18,” police wrote on X on November 8, 2023.
Following Ludwig’s death the district attorney has raised questions about Tennessee laws that prevent the prosecution of some defendants declared incompetent.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Say Shaquille Taylor Was ‘Shooting at a Car’ When the Bullet Struck Jillian Ludwig in the Head
According to the post from Nashville police, “Taylor was shooting at a car when a bullet hit Ludwig in the head as she walked on a track in a park across the street.”
Earlier police wrote, “An 18-year-old female Belmont Univ student from NJ was very critically wounded by a gunshot Tue afternoon while walking on the track in Edgehill Community Memorial Gardens Park. The gunfire came from public housing across the street. Investigation active.”
In a news release, police said the investigation “shows that Taylor was standing on 13th Ct when he opened fire on a car traveling on 13th Ct toward Deford Bailey Avenue at 2:24 p.m. Tuesday. At that same time, Ludwig was walking in the park located on the opposite side of Deford Bailey Avenue.”
The release continues:
One of Taylor’s shots is alleged to have struck Ludwig in the head, causing her to immediately collapse. She was discovered on the ground at approximately 3:30 p.m. by a passerby who quickly notified police. Ludwig was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she is in extremely critical condition.
A review of surveillance camera footage and witness information led to the identification of Taylor as the suspected gunman. He admitted to firing shots during an interview with detectives at police headquarters. He claimed to have given the gun involved to another person.
2. Shaquille Taylor Was Previously Accused of Shooting at a Female Driver, Reports Say
According to CBS News, Taylor has a lengthy criminal history.
In 2021, he was accused of assault with a deadly weapon for shooting “at a female driver while her two children were in the back seat,” CBS News reported.
The charges were dismissed, and he was freed after he was found incompetent to stand trial, CBS News reported.
The police press release also states, “Taylor had been last arrested on September 21 in a grocery store parking lot driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck that had been carjacked by two men wearing ski masks on September 16 on Whites Creek Pike near Dickerson Pike. Taylor did not admit to being involved in the carjacking. He was charged with felony auto theft and was subsequently released on a $20,000 bond. He failed to appear in court on that charge last Friday. A failure to appear warrant was issued by the court.”
3. Shaquille Taylor Suffered a Brain Infection at Birth, But the District Attorney Is Calling for Changes in the Law
According to CBS News, a court order indicated that Taylor suffered a brain infection when he had “pneumonia at birth.”
He “continues to function at a kindergarten level,” CBS reported.
In a press release, District Attorney Glen Fink said that, on April 13, 2023, the Nashville District Attorney’s Office prosecuted Shaquille Taylor for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
“At a competency hearing on that date, three court appointed doctors unanimously testified that Mr. Taylor was incompetent to stand trial. State and federal law prohibit prosecution of persons found to be incompetent, so therefore Judge Angelita Dalton was mandated to dismiss the case,” the news release said.
“Because the doctors did not find Mr. Taylor met the standards for involuntary commitment, he was released from custody on May 19, 2023,” it reads.
The DA continued, “Under Tennessee law, for a person to be involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, at least two doctors must have executed certificates that the person is suffering from a severe mental illness of developmental disability that causes the person to be a substantial risk of serious harm to himself or others. The doctors must also find that there are no other less restrictive measures than commitment.”
According to the DA, “this nearly impossible standard impacts public safety. The law must be altered to accurately balance individual needs with public safety. At the same time Tennessee must provide more beds and staffing resources to handle dangerous individuals. I will continue to work with the Legislature on these serious mental health issues.”
Just a few days before the shooting, WSMV4 reported the results of an investigation that found that “Hundreds of accused criminals in Nashville can’t be prosecuted in mental health crisis. WSMV4 Investigation finds 229 people are unprosecutable for being incompetent to stand trial.”
4. Shaquille Taylor Was Previously Shot, Reports Say
Court documents obtained by News Channel 5 show that Taylor’s mother, Tondalayia Cox, testified that Taylor functioned “on a kindergarten level.”
At age 15, Taylor was “chased by a gang of boys” while “running around with a Super Nintendo gun,” and was shot, the television station reported.
According to the television, when he was a juvenile, “police seized a .40 caliber handgun from Taylor.” He was accused of robbery in 2015, the television station reported.
5. Jillian Ludwig Was Remembered as a ‘Beautiful Soul’ Whose ‘Smile Lights Up Any Room’
Ludwig’s aunt shared a statement on behalf of the family to NC5 journalist Nick Beres. It read,
Jillian has such a beautiful soul.
Her smile lights up any room and she is loved by everyone lucky enough to know her.
Jillian graduated from Wall High School last June.
As an accomplished student, musician and vocalist, she chose to study Music Business at Belmont University.
She loved the short time she’s spent at Belmont.
She loves her life, her friends, parents and her younger brothers, Shane & Trevor.
Jillian is fierce.
She lives every day with passion.
Her fearlessness, spontaneity, love of laughter, kindness and compassion make her irreplaceable to our family.
Losing her would forever change the fabric of our lives.
We have been made aware that the suspect in her shooting had a record of violent crime.
We sent our girl into the world to do amazing things.
Given the opportunity, she would have.
So we have to ask, why was this man free?
What kind of world do we live in where it’s not safe to take a walk near your college dorm in broad daylight?
How could someone so carelessly dim the light of a star destined to shine so bright?
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