An 18-year-old freshman student at a Christian college in Nashville was fatally struck Tuesday by a stray bullet shot from a gun wielded by a just-released criminal.
Jillian Ludwig was rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center Tuesday afternoon after she was discovered lying on the ground at Edgehill Community Memorial Gardens Park around 3:30 p.m. She was on a walk when she was shot in the head, according to The Tennessean.
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“This is a lot for us all to process,” wrote Belmont University President Greg Jones in a campus-wide email. “We grapple now with grief, anger, anxiety, and a strong sense of fear in the face of senseless violence.”
The university leader reiterated in his message a story shared during a midweek prayer service:
In closing, I would repeat the words spoken at our prayer service Wednesday, a lament from a man who lost his son and was wrestling with great grief: “My wounds are an unanswered question. The wounds of humanity are an unanswered question.” Today, we too must sit with the unanswered questions — I pray you will do so with others in this community and that together we can bring comfort to one another.
As for the alleged assailant, 29-year-old Shaquille Taylor has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault and evidence tampering after an unnamed informant, video footage, and his own alleged confession connected him to the Tuesday shooting.
Police investigators said it appears Taylor was shooting at a nearby vehicle when the bullet hit Ludwig.
As for his criminal history, Taylor was charged in April with aggravated assault, according to Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk. However, the assailant was ultimately found by three doctors to be incompetent to stand trial. Taylor also didn’t meet Tennessee’s standards for involuntary commitment, so he was released.
Funk is now calling on lawmakers in the state to make it less complicated to commit someone like Taylor to a mental institution, according to the Associated Press.
“This nearly impossible standard impacts public safety,” he said. “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.”
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