Suspect previously released from jail accused of shooting college student in the head

Jillian Ludwig was struck by a bullet in Nashville when a gunman alledgedly began firing at a nearby car

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 09 November 2023 22:15 GMT
NJ student dies after Nashville shooting

A college student who was hit by a stray bullet while walking near Belmont University in Tennessee has died, according to local police.

Jillian Ludwig, 18, of New Jersey, was walking on a track in a Nashville park when a bullet hit her in the head and left her critically injured. The shooting took place around 2:30pm on Tuesday, Metro Nashville Police said.

Shaquille Taylor, 29, was arrested after witness statements and surveillance video footage led police to identify him as the alleged shooter, according to CBS News.

"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," police said in a social media post on Wednesday.

A video shows Ludwing falling to the ground as Mr Taylor was firing his gun at a nearby car, according to an affidavit. Another park-goer found Ludwig on the ground approximately an hour later. She was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Mr Taylor has recently been released from prison on a $280,000 bond after he was charged with aggravated assault and evidence tampering, according to police records.

Jillian Ludwig, 18, of New Jersey died after she was hit by an errant bullet while walking near Belmont University campus in Nashville
Jillian Ludwig, 18, of New Jersey died after she was hit by an errant bullet while walking near Belmont University campus in Nashville (Metro Nashville Police Department)

He has an extensive criminal history, including three charges of assault with a deadly weapon after he and another man were accused of shooting at a woman who was driving with her two children in the back seat. At least two of the rounds hit the woman's building. His charges were dismissed by a Nashville judge earlier this year.

Four months later Mr Taylor was arrested after he was found driving a pickup truck that had been carjacked by two men in ski masks in September. He was charged with felony auto theft and was released on a $20,000 bond. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear for a court appearance on Friday.

The court order from May explained that Mr Taylor has developmental disabilities caused by pneumonia he suffered at birth, which left him with a brain infection and the inability to function beyond a kindergarten level. His condition was not severe enough for him to qualify for involuntary commitment to a mental health facility.

The criteria for involuntary commitment in Tennessee has been criticised by Nashville's District Attorney General Glenn Funk, who said it required law enforcement to prove a "nearly impossible standard."

"The law must be altered to accurately balance individual needs with public safety," Mr Funk said in a statement. "At the same time, Tennessee must provide more beds and staffing resources to handle dangerous individuals."

His criticisms were echoed by Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell, who called for "more beds for individuals experiencing mental health crises and a renewed conversation about how we limit access to firearms for individuals we know are a threat to the community."

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