It was in Sandpiper Pre-school where I met Jillian Ludwig. Though we were never particularly close and hadn’t stayed in touch over the years, I was heartbroken to hear of her sudden death this past Tuesday. Jillian was at the same stage of her life as me, a college Freshman ready to take on the world with a bright, successful future promised ahead. She was a talented musician pursuing her dreams at Belmont University majoring in music business. She even participated in volunteer work that helped give disadvantaged kids access to instruments. Just looking at her Instagram and seeing her living life to the fullest, it’s surreal to think she’s gone just like that.
Jillian had decided to go for a walk that afternoon at Edgehill Memorial Gardens Park in Nashville, and she was shot at around 2:30 pm. The suspect, Shaquille Taylor, had claimed he was shooting at a car across the park and one of the bullets had struck Jillian. Taylor had already had an extensive criminal history prior to the shooting as he had been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, and auto theft. Because he was born with pneumonia that led to an infection in his brain the court find him to be “incompetent”. His mother even testified in a former case stating that his brain could not surpass a “kindergarten level”. Due to his mental incapacities, Taylor had gotten away with incompetency docket deals which granted him the right to get out of jail faster, allowing him to begin the cycle once again and only intensify his crimes.
The fact that this suspect had been warned in the past and released over and over again, crime after crime, not only shows how messed up the justice system is in regard to dealing with mental disabilities but that Jillian’s passing could have been prevented if only he had been incarcerated as long as he deserved. It shouldn’t have had to go this far. Now is the legal system’s last chance to bring Jillian and her family justice and put this man away for good.
I can only imagine the pain that Jillian’s family have experienced week. Sending your daughter off to college is bittersweet, but losing her from the world is an unimaginable, devastating loss. I think it’s important to recognize that tomorrow is promised to no one. Our time here on earth is short and not to be taken for granted. Although money and words of support can only go so far, you can show your love to the Ludwig family by donating to: https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/gkz7qm. No amount is too small. Any amount is greatly appreciated.