Belmont University students and staff, as well as members of the Nashville community, gathered at a prayer vigil Wednesday for Jillian Ludwig, a New Jersey freshman fighting for her life after she was shot in the head while walking at a park in the Edgehill neighborhood.
According to the Metro Nashville Police Department, the suspect — identified as 29-year-old Shaquille Taylor — was standing on 13th Court when he opened fire on a car traveling toward Deford Bailey Avenue at approximately 2:24 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
One of Taylor’s bullets reportedly hit 18-year-old Ludwig in the head, causing her to collapse to the ground. However, officials said she was not discovered until 3:30 p.m., when a passerby notified law enforcement.
As of Wednesday, Nov. 8, Ludwig is in “extremely critical condition” at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, authorities reported.
Despite being alerted to the incident via email Tuesday evening, some students are still in shock that this would happen to a fellow Bruin.
“You can definitely tell that everybody’s… uncomfortable, sad, because you never know what’s gonna happen,” Belmont University student Jake Ditomaso said. “Everything’s so unexpected, especially getting an email like that.”
A number of people at Wednesday’s prayer vigil were crying and visibly upset. University officials spoke about Ludwig’s passion music passion and how they encourage everyone to use music as healing.
“Coming from the prayer session and vigil, students crying, hugging each other all across campus, it feels a lot like the day of the Covenant shooting, but even more so because it’s a Belmont student, not, like, a different school, so there’s a lot of sadness happening and a lot of unknown,” Belmont University student Natalie Schilling described.
Several members of the Belmont community told News 2 they have questions about safety, both on and off campus. In addition, they are still battling the shock that Ludwig was shot at a Metro park, less than a mile away from the university, in the middle of the afternoon.
“I feel like, on campus, they’re doing the best they can. Our campus security office is actually pretty good, they show up when you call and just recently adding crossing guards and helping keep students safe,” Schilling said.
Belmont University will have counselors available, but many students said it will take time for them to heal. Right now, they are showing support for Ludwig and her family, hoping she will survive.
“Sharing grief was really comforting in that a lot of times it feels like we have to do the grieving process on our own, and so having those spaces, like the vigil and today feeling like there are other people who are all on their own path, but we can all be in this moment together, it felt really healing in that way,” Schilling explained.
Meanwhile, Metro police said they arrested Taylor Tuesday night as he left an Edgehill Homes apartment on 14th Avenue South. He is being held in Metro Jail on a $280,000 bond for aggravated assault and evidence tampering in connection with the shooting that left Ludwig critically wounded.