Breonna Taylor was alive for 5 to 6 minutes after she was shot several times by Louisville Metro Police officers, according to a lawsuit filed by her family.
“Breonna, who was unarmed in her hallway, was struck by several rounds of gunfire. She was not killed immediately,” attorneys Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker wrote in a revised version of the court documents, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported in a July 17 article that presented an extensive recreation of the fatal events of that night. “Rather, she lived for another five to six minutes before ultimately succumbing to her injuries on the floor of her home.”
Taylor died on the morning of March 13 after three LMPD officers fired more than 20 shots into her apartment. The officers, identified as Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove, arrived around 12:40 a.m. to execute a search warrant for a drug investigation.
Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, thought the officers were burglars, so he grabbed his handgun and fired a warning shot as the door was breached. The shot hit Mattingly in the leg, and other officers on the scene rushed to get a tourniquet on his leg, as reported by the Courier-Journal. Walker was charged with attempted murder for the shot, but the charge was dropped in May.
The officers responded with a barrage of bullets, and five of them hit Taylor. (Previous reports have said she was hit eight times, but the coroner’s report details five wounds.) Walker, unaware that it was the police, called 911 and told the dispatcher, “Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.”
A few hours after the shooting, Walker told investigators Taylor coughed and struggled to breathe after she was shot.
“[Police are] yelling like, ‘Come out, come out,’ and I’m on the phone with her [mom]. I’m still yelling help because she’s over here coughing and, like, I’m just freaking out,” Walker said during an interview with detectives.
Walker told them it took a while for him to realize the shots came from the police because they did not rush into the apartment after the shooting. No one administered aid.
“I’m yelling, ‘Somebody come help her’ or whatever, and then after it’s been like five minutes, like, I called my mom and I told her that somebody just kicked in the door and shot Bre,” Walker said. “What really made me not realize it was the police either, ’cause nobody was, like, rushing in after all this happened. They all, like, stayed outside. So I’m like, what the heck was that?”
Taylor’s condition wasn’t radioed in until 1:10 a.m., half an hour after she was shot, according to The Courier-Journal.
Despite Walker’s comments and the lawsuit’s argument, Jefferson County Coroner Barbara Weakley-Jones insisted Taylor did not have a chance at survival.
“Taylor likely died within a minute of being shot and couldn’t have been saved,” she told the Courier-Journal.
“If she had even been outside of an emergency room department at a hospital, and she got shot and sustained the same injury, they would not have been able to save her,” Weakley-Jones added. “So there’s no way that even if they (police) ran to her and tried to give her aid, they can’t do anything because it’s all internal injuries that you can’t stop.”
None of the officers has been charged for her death, an issue that has galvanized protests across the country. On July 14, more than 100 people gathered on the lawn of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to demand he press charges against the officers. Police officers arrested 87 people, including “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Porsha Williams and Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills. They were facing felony charges but Jefferson County attorney Mike O’Connell dropped them on Friday, per The New York Times.
Taylor’s death is being investigated by the FBI and the office of the state attorney general.