In a tragic incident near Belmont University, an eighteen-year-old student lost her life after being hit by a stray bullet, as confirmed by the Metro Nashville Police Department.
Jillian Ludwig, a bright young woman from New Jersey, was unfortunately caught in the crossfire while walking in a park around 2:30 pm on Tuesday. Law enforcement agencies reported that surveillance footage was critical in identifying and arresting the suspect, 29-year-old Shaquille Taylor.
Taylor, whose criminal history involves a 2021 assault charge for shooting at a car with children inside, was previously considered unfit for trial due to significant intellectual disabilities. This diagnosis led to the dismissal of his charges in 2023, resulting in his release as he did not qualify for involuntary mental health commitment, according to reports.
Law enforcement officials report that the origin of the shots fired appeared to be a residential complex for public housing located just opposite the park. According to the authorities, the accused, Taylor, was purportedly targeting a car when a random bullet inadvertently hit Ludwig.
Taylor is now facing serious charges such as aggravated assault and manipulation of evidence and is presently under custody with his bail set at a hefty $280,000. As of Thursday, the police disclosed that they were in talks with the district attorney’s office regarding potential changes to his charges.
Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk has used this case to highlight the existing challenges in Tennessee law regarding involuntary commitment. He called for legislative reform, stating, “The current standards for involuntary commitment to a mental health facility are demanding.
Under the law, at least two doctors must certify that the individual has a severe mental illness or developmental disability that poses a substantial risk of harm to themselves or others. Additionally, the doctors must determine that no less restrictive measures are available than commitment.”
Funk further added, “These stringent requirements adversely affect public safety. We must revise the law to achieve a fair balance between individual needs and public safety.”
Belmont University’s community has been deeply affected by the loss of Ludwig, an avid bass player studying the music business. University President Greg Jones acknowledged Ludwig’s passion for music and remembered her love of running.