Kenneth Walker in an interview about the night his girlfriend was shot and killed by Louisville police during a raid at her home said justice for him would be to have “Breonna Taylor sitting right here next to me.”
“That was my best friend… the most important person pretty much to me on Earth. And they took her,” Walker said during an interview on “CBS This Morning” with co-host Gayle King that aired on Wednesday.
Taylor, 26, an emergency medical technician, was shot and killed on March 13 after police officers with a no-knock search warrant broke down the door to her apartment seeking evidence in a narcotics investigation.
Taylor’s address was listed on the warrant but the target of the probe was her ex-boyfriend, who lived at another location.
Walker, who was home with Taylor when three Louisville Metro Police Department officers opened fire, described how they had spent the earlier part of the day relaxing and going out to dinner for a date. They returned to Taylor’s apartment to play Uno and watch a movie, he told King.
Walker said they heard a “loud bang at the door” and they both called out several times but no one responded.
“We were saying, ‘Who is it?’ There was no response,” he said.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said during a news conference last month that his investigation showed police knocked and identified themselves before entering the apartment and that it was corroborated by a civilian witness who was near Taylor’s apartment on the night of the shooting.
But other witnesses have said they did not hear police identify themselves.
A spokesperson for the Lousiville Metro Police Department declined Wednesday to comment on Walker’s interview, telling NBC News in a statement: “Commenting on any part of this case would be highly inappropriate for public officials as there are still investigations underway.”
Walker told King that had the officers identified themselves, he and Taylor would have heard them.
“It was dead silent. I’m a million percent sure that nobody identified themselves,” he said.
“If it was the police at the door and they just said we’re the police, me or Breonna didn’t have a reason at all not to open the door and see what they wanted,” he added.
Walker described how he was “deathly afraid” when the front door of the apartment suddenly came off its hinges, but he knew he needed to protect Taylor.
Walker said they both got dressed and he grabbed his gun, firing a single shot. He thought it was an intruder and told King that he hoped it would scare the person away.
Police said the bullet hit one officer, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, in the leg. Walker’s attorneys have disputed this.
Police returned fire, sending dozens of bullets into the apartment. Cameron said Mattingly fired six shots; Det. Myles Cosgrove fired 16; and Det. Brett Hankison fired 10. An FBI analysis determined that Cosgrove fired the fatal shot that killed Taylor.
“I don’t think I heard so many gunshots all at the same time,” Walker said in the interview. “I’ve never been to war but I assume that’s what war probably sounds like.”
Walker told King that during the gunfire, he grabbed Taylor’s hand and tried to pull her down to the ground. But “she was just scared so she didn’t get down,” he said.
He realized she had been shot when she let out a scream. Walker said that Taylor was initially still alive in the moments after she was shot. He then got on the phone and called his mother, who told him to call 911.
In audio from Walker’s 911 call, he emotionally told a dispatcher that somebody had kicked the door in and shot his girlfriend. He told the dispatcher that he doesn’t “know what is happening.” He later hung up on the dispatcher and called Taylor’s mom.
According to Walker, he did not know it was police officers who had shot Taylor and told King that he initially thought the police were there because he had called 911 for help. When he walked outside, there were guns pointed at him and he was being threatened with police dogs, he recalled.
As he was being led to a police vehicle, Walker told King that an officer said it was “unfortunate” that he had not been shot.
Walker said that during the ride to the police station, the car pulled over into a parking lot. They were met by a plainclothes officer in an unmarked car who said there had been a “miscommunication.”
“And then when I got to the police headquarters or whatever they took the handcuffs off me and everything,” he said. “I was walking around, I went to the bathroom. So clearly I know something’s wrong. You don’t allegedly shoot a police officer and they take the handcuffs off you.”
Walker was initially charged with attempted murder and assault, but the charges were later dropped. He has since filed a civil complaint against Louisville police and the city.
Walker told King that he was never told directly that Taylor had died and he found out about it on the news. “I didn’t know for sure what condition she was in when I left. So, I didn’t know what they did. As these bodycam videos come out, I see they did nothing,” he said.
Walker described Taylor as a person who would “do anything for anybody.” He said they had planned on getting married and had started buying things, like baby Air Jordans, for their future children. When King asked what looking at the shoes mean now, Walker, responded: “To me, it means something that’s never going to happen.”
Mattingly and Cosgrove were placed on administrative leave after the shooting and Hankison was fired in June. A grand jury last month declined to indict the officers with Taylor’s death, instead indicting Hankison with wanton endangerment for gunshots that went into a neighboring apartment. He has pleaded not guilty.
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