NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Belmont University freshman from New Jersey was fatally shot in the head while walking on a track near campus.
Metro police announced on Thursday that Jillian Ludwig died overnight. She was 18 years old.
Officials previously said Ludwig was in “extremely critical condition” after she was shot while walking in the Edgehill Community Memorial Gardens Park on Tuesday.
Officers said they were flagged down to the park around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to respond to a report of a woman lying on the track. Police soon found the Ludwig suffering from a gunshot wound to her head.
Investigators said the gunfire came from public housing across the street, which was captured by the property’s surveillance cameras.
Metro police reported the footage showed a man wearing a yellow shirt, jeans and red shoes fire multiple shots toward a dark sedan traveling along 13th Court toward Deford Bailey Avenue shortly before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
At the same time, Ludwig was reportedly seen walking in the park on the opposite site of Deford Bailey Avenue and falling down after being struck by a bullet fired by the suspect. Ludwig laid on the ground until she was found by a passerby about an hour after the shots were fired, according to Metro police.
During the investigation, an informant allegedly told officers 29-year-old Shaquille Taylor was responsible for the shooting.
A witness told officers she saw Taylor enter a housing unit in the 1300 block of 14th Avenue South after the shots were fired, according to an arrest report.
Officers said they took Taylor into custody as he was walking out of an Edgehill Homes apartment just before 10 p.m. Tuesday. He was charged with aggravated assault and evidence tampering.
Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk released a statement about how Taylor could not be prosecuted earlier this year for three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon related to an incident from August 2021 because he was found incompetent.
As of Wednesday, Taylor remained jailed on a $280,000 bond. Metro police are in discussions to upgrade his charges.
The Friends of the William Edmondson Homesite Park & Gardens released the following statement Thursday morning in response to Ludwig’s death:
We are heartbroken and devastated by the tragic shooting on Tuesday in the William Edmondson Homesite Park & Gardens in Edgehill (identified in some reporting as “Edgehill Memorial Gardens Park”).
This morning, we awoke to learn that Belmont University student Jillian Ludwig passed away overnight. May she rest in peace and may her memory be a blessing to all who knew her. As we join those across our city and beyond in deep mourning for this senseless and unfathomable loss, we offer our prayers and condolences to her family and friends. We send our gratitude to MNPD for their quick apprehension of the suspected shooter, and for the citizens who provided information to help the police investigation.
Less than two weeks ago, we paused our yearly neighborhood festival to honor the memory of the Covenant School shooting victims, as well as past Edgehill gun violence victims, with two memorial tree plantings and plaque dedications. Now, one of our precious Belmont student neighbors has been lost to a senseless act of gun violence very near the spot where we held the ceremony.
We recognize that there is no single, simple solution to the complex problem of rising gun violence. We call on all of our Metro and state elected officials to make an urgent priority of addressing this crisis with common-sense gun safety and criminal justice reform legislation that would promote safety in all of our communities.
The William Edmondson Homesite Park & Gardens is a beloved neighborhood green space that is cared for by the entire community of Edgehill residents, across age, race, and economic categories. Belmont students are a beloved part of our community, and we share in their deep sense of grief at this tragic loss.Friends of the William Edmondson Homesite Park & Gardens