Kenneth Walker’s parents reflect on phone call with son the night Breonna Taylor was killed
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Her name and her story have captivated the world and pushed Louisville to the center of racial discussions.
Thursday marks five months since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her apartment by LMPD narcotics officers. By her side during the shooting was her boyfriend Kenneth Walker.
Walker’s parents, Velicia and Kenneth Walker Jr., said that for their son, what happened on March 13 isn’t a black-and-white issue. It’s between right and wrong.
“(Breonna was) an essential worker that protected and served and healed people,” Velicia said. “You don’t even get the respect that you give to others to even be seen or cared for in the last moments of your life.”
Documents filed by Taylor’s family state that after the shooting, she took her final breaths without receiving any medical attention for at least six minutes.
“That night I can’t even,” Velicia said. “It makes me sick to my stomach.”
Velicia said her son called her after the shooting.
“He did call me that night and I directed him to call 911,” Velicia said. “I think the relevance for me as a mom is when I saw the George Floyd thing and George Floyd was calling his mom. That’s all I can hear, ‘Mama,’ and we as mothers know what that means.”
During his police interview, Walker said the couple was in bed, Taylor asleep, when they heard bangs at the door. Police claim officers announced themselves, but neighbors told WAVE 3 News that officers did not announce themselves. Walker testified to that as well.
“If someone just said, ‘It’s the police,’ I will open the door gladly,” Velicia said, referring to what her son would have done. “I don’t have anything to hide.”
Police were conducting a search warrant related to a narcotics investigation. Velicia said she instilled in her children never to open their doors unless they know who’s on the other side.
“I don’t care if they knock all day long,” Velicia said. “Someone who wants to hurt you can easily knock.” The Walkers said March 13 was the first time their son used his gun outside of a shooting range. Walker said he thought someone was breaking in and shot at the ground.
Police said the bullet hit Officer Jon Mattingly in the upper leg. Two other officers were involved in the shooting. Brett Hankison, who was fired from the department, and Myles Cosgrove, were not injured. An attempted murder charge against Walker was dropped without prejudice, meaning the commonwealth can restore the charges at any time.
“(Someone) kicks in a door and (you) don’t know who’s coming into your house, you’re going to fight first and ask questions later,” Kenneth Walker Jr. said. “That’s called protection. That’s why most people have guns in their home.”
The coroner said Taylor was shot five times in her hallway before she lay dying beside her boyfriend.
“I lost a piece of my son, and I lost a daughter,” Velicia said. The Walkers said Taylor set the standard and Kenneth followed, adding that she was “the one.” That’s why Velicia said she didn’t hesitate when her son asked for her ring to propose to Taylor. “(You know in a wedding), something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and I was going to give (a butterfly clip) to her.”
It was a clip on her dresser that Velicia said she had cherished and Taylor had admired. Pieces of the couple’s future sit in a box next to the their favorite brand of sneakers and mini Jordans. Walker and Taylor set the sneakers aside for their next plan, their first child.
“So having little things like that for a grandbaby I’ll never meet,” Velicia said.
The Walkers said their son relives the shooting every day, and he struggles with severe PTSD.
“He has to heal without her,” Velicia said. “He has to heal from losing her.” The Walkers said Kenneth is learning what his world looks like without the one who made him whole, now five months after she was killed.
“Five months feels like an eternity in some instances,” Kenneth Walker Jr. said.
“How disrespectful, I don’t care who it is,” Velicia said. “(Attorney General Daniel) Cameron, (Mayor Greg) Fischer, I don’t care about any of that. If you can get up and look in that mirror and not see Bree, and not see what you’re holding over my son’s life, you’re a sick person.”
Cameron is investigating the case and will decide whether to charge the officers involved in Taylor’s death. He met with Taylor’s family for the first time Wednesday to offer his condolences in person. He has not set a date for when he will announce his findings.
The Walkers said Kenneth hasn’t been able to speak about the night of the shooting, adding that the only person he would discuss his feelings with was Breonna.
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