Shaquille Taylor, 29, was quickly identified as a suspect and taken into custody. Police said the gunfire came from a public housing unit across the street from the park and that Taylor was allegedly shooting at a car when a stray bullet struck [Belmont University Student Jillian] Ludwig.
Taylor was charged with aggravated assault and evidence tampering and is being held on a $280,000 bond. Police said Thursday they were in discussion with the district attorney’s office about modifying his charges.
News of Ludwig’s death came one day after Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk called on the Tennessee Legislature to make it easier to commit someone to a mental institution. Taylor had been criminally charged multiple times in the past, including in 2021 when he was charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
Authorities said he and another man allegedly shot at a woman while she was driving with her two children. At least two bullets hit the vehicle. The charges were ultimately dismissed earlier this year and Taylor was released after court-appointed doctors testified that he was incompetent to stand trial. Under federal and state law, mentally incompetent defendants cannot be prosecuted.
A court order stated that Taylor developed pneumonia at birth, which led to a brain infection, and that he continues to function at a kindergarten level. Criminal Court Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton wrote that because Taylor did not meet the criteria to be involuntarily committed, the court had “reached the limit of its authority.”
—Nashville college freshman Jillian Ludwig dies after being hit by a stray bullet at a local park
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