‘Our anger is with the system’: Jillian Ludwig’s parents outraged by justice system after daughter’s death

“If we can make positive change so her death is not in vain, that’s what we aim to do.”
Jillian Ludwig's parents are outraged at the justice center after their daughter's death.
Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 7:02 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - For the first time, the parents of Jillian Ludwig, the Belmont University student shot and killed last week, spoke with WSMV4.

They say they are angry, but more at the justice system than the man accused.

Her parents, Matt and Jessica Ludwig, say right now, they are focusing on their daughter’s funeral. Their next move is to turn their grief into action.

It’s videos of Jillian singing on stage that her family says they’re clinging to.

“I’ll forever cherish having them,” Jessica Ludwig said. “But it does break my heart knowing I will never see her perform live again.”

Her parents said Jillian was a remarkable musician, daughter and sister who loved music more than anything. That’s why she decided to go to Belmont and pursue her passion. A passion that ended suddenly when she was shot near Belmont’s campus.

“My girl went out on a run in the middle of the afternoon in a park two blocks from campus,” Jessica said. “I mean it’s just unimaginable, and it could have been prevented.”

Shaquille Taylor, the man accused of shooting Ludwig, was in jail earlier this year. The District Attorney’s Office said three doctors deemed him mentally incompetent to stand trial, meaning he couldn’t be prosecuted and was let go.

“We are frustrated by this essentially loophole in the system that allows this to happen,” Matt Ludwig said. “If there is a determination that someone is mentally unwell, then there should be some way to handle that in a manner that won’t allow them to get back onto the street.”

“Are you more angry at the man or the system?” WSMV4′s Marissa Sulek asked.

“I don’t know much about the man other than what everyone has heard about him and what has been made public,” Matt Ludwig said. “Our anger is with the system that allowed this to happen.”

It’s a system they believe is broken. They hope to fix it in Jillian’s memory so other parents don’t have to feel what they do.

“If we can make positive change so her death is not in vain, that’s what we aim to do,” Jessica Ludwig said.

“We want Jillian Ludwig to be a household name for something other than the event that took her life,” Matt Ludwig said.

Jillian’s funeral is planned for Friday back home in New Jersey. Both Matt and Jessica Ludwig said they plan to be at future court hearings and trials for Taylor.

There is a Facebook page called Justice for Jillian, advocating for change to the justice system. Friends and family also have a GoFundMe for the Ludwig family to help with funeral costs.