NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Jillian Ludwig died Thursday.
The 18-year-old Belmont student was shot while walking in a Nashville park Tuesday afternoon.
The suspect, Shaquille Taylor, has a criminal history, having been previously arrested for aggravated assault after allegedly shooting at a car with a woman and two children inside.
However, three doctors said earlier this year he was unfit to stand trial and he didn’t meet involuntary commit requirements, so he walked free.
“Feels unacceptable,” Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tennessee) said. “It’s the reason why we ought to continue to press hard on public safety.”
The situation has renewed calls to change Tennessee’s mental health laws.
“We’re going to look through that. I don’t think that’s right. If you’re incompetent, you should have further evaluations,” House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) said. “We thought there was a statute on the books that should have required that.”
The concept is one that nearly got passed at a special session earlier this year before the Senate decided it wouldn’t pass more than a handful of bills , protesting Lee calling the special session in the first place.
“What’s frustrating is you had a guy who’s been in the criminal system now since, I think, about 2015,” Sexton said. “We don’t even know what he did as a juvenile because that’s wiped away.”
Democrats have pointed to loose gun and open carry laws as a clear symptom of this issue.
“We got rid of the permitting laws and allowed open carry,” Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) said. “Maybe this got reported to the national background check system, but it’s very easy for anyone to work around that background system.”
It was a notion Sexton scoffed at.
“They’re going to blame it on anything other than the individual; that’s just the fact,” he said. “This case has nothing to do with permitless carry.”