College student hit by stray bullet dies. Suspect was released earlier for intellectual disability

Nov 9, 2023, 9:56 AM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee college student who was hit by a stray bullet while walking near Belmont University campus died overnight Wednesday, according to Metro Nashville Police.

Jillian Ludwig, of New Jersey, was walking on a track in a local park when she was shot in the head and critically wounded at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to police. They arrested Shaquille Taylor, 29, after surveillance video and witness statements pointed to him as the shooter. Video showed Ludwig falling as Taylor fired at a nearby car, according to a police affidavit. A passerby discovered Ludwig, 18, on the ground about an hour later, and she was transported to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Ludwig’s shooting prompted Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk to send out a statement on Wednesday detailing Taylor’s previous criminal history. That includes three charges of assault with a deadly weapon from 2021 after he was accused of shooting at a female driver while her two children were in the back seat. Earlier this year a Nashville judge dismissed the charges when three doctors testified that Taylor was incompetent to stand trial because he is severely intellectually disabled. Both federal and state law prohibit the prosecution of mentally incompetent defendants.

Because Taylor did not qualify for involuntary commitment to a mental health institution, he was simply released from prison. Funk said Tennessee lawmakers need to make it easier to involuntarily commit a person, calling the current standards “nearly impossible” to meet.

Belmont University President Greg Jones, in an email to students, said Ludwig was a music business major and bass player who often cheered on her fellow musicians at concerts. She was also an avid runner who enjoyed being outside.

A public defender listed as Taylor’s attorney in court records did not return phone and email messages seeking comment.

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College student hit by stray bullet dies. Suspect was released earlier for intellectual disability