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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Two bullets tore through the floor of Stanley David’s apartment
One punched through the hallway. The other passed right in front of his bedroom door, roughly 5 feet from where he was sleeping.
His 7-year-old daughter was awake next to him when the shooting started.
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“Daddy! Daddy!” she yelled to alert him to the shooting.
He grabbed her and hurried to the living room, where his 75-year-old mother was huddled with the little girl she was babysitting and the girl’s father, who had just arrived to pick her up. All of them were in David’s apartment — No. 8, right above Taylor's.
“Man, those gunshots were for almost five minutes,” David remembered. “It was terrible.”
Three Louisville Metro Police officers fired roughly 30 gunshots that terrifying night on March 13 when Taylor was killed during an attempted drug search that went awry. Police forced their way in, prompting Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, to fire a shot at what he thought were intruders, he said later.
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Police say Walker's shot hit LMPD Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh, and when Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove returned fire, they hit the unarmed Taylor six times, killing her in her hallway.
The only officer to be charged was Brett Hankison, who allegedly fired blindly from outside Taylor apartment and into another neighbor’s unit with three people present. He was fired in June and
But he wasn't charged for firing shots into Taylor's apartment or through her ceiling into David's unit.
Moreover, neither Cosgrove nor Mattingly were indicted, with Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron saying they were “justified in their use of force” because Walker fired first.
the investigation and grand jury results as erroneous and unjust.
David, 47, was at work when the grand jury’s decision was announced Wednesday.
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A little more than 24 hours later, after first hearing about the outcome from a Courier Journal reporter, he was stumped to learn the officers who shot into his apartment were not charged.
“My apartment was hit too,” he said. “The bullet that came through my floor right in front of my bedroom door, if that bullet went through my bed, maybe I would have been dead too. I’m a human being too.”
‘She got killed for nothing’
A native of Liberia, David moved to Louisville about eight years ago.
He said he met Taylor around 2016 when they briefly worked together as caregivers at a group home. About two years after he moved to Springfield Drive, she moved in the apartment below his.
They didn’t see each other much because of opposite work schedules. But she and her boyfriend would wave and say hello to him when they passed each other in the building.
“Breonna was nobody like they claim,” David said of the swirling rumors of drug activity at her apartment. “For as long as I knew her, I didn’t see anybody coming there with anything like that. There weren’t people coming in and out. It was only she and her boyfriend.”
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The night Taylor was killed, David said he first thought someone was breaking into one of the apartments in his building.
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He said none of the five people in his apartment heard police knocking on Taylor’s door or announcing their presence, which remains a crucial point of contention in the investigation.
Cameron said Wednesday one neighbor did hear police knock and announce themselves before the doomed raid, while other neighbors have told Taylor’s family attorneys they heard no such thing.
Once the gunfire stopped, David said the man who came to get his daughter tried to leave but was stopped by police. They couldn't leave until 4 a.m.
By 8 a.m., David went outside to go to work. He said a police officer told him he couldn’t because there was evidence under his work van.
A short time later, more police came to his apartment to ask questions: What was his name? His daughter’s name? His mom’s name? Where did he work?
They checked his apartment and found the bullet hole in the hallway floor but not the one outside his bedroom door — that was later discovered by FBI agents, David said.
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Police initially said someone shot at officers and officers responded. It wasn’t until later that same day, after seeing Taylor’s covered body wheeled out and talking to other neighbors, that David realized she was dead.
“I don’t think that’s right,” he said of her death and the decision not to charge any of the officers in her killing. “Breonna was not doing drugs, and she got killed for nothing. She never had a gun. She did not shoot any shots.”
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‘My daughter could not go out to play’
As David faced a barrage of questions from police and federal agents in the weeks and months after Taylor’s death, he and his family struggled with the aftermath.
His daughter, who arrived in the U.S. two months before the shooting, was petrified to leave the apartment.
“My daughter could not go out to play,” he said.
When his nephews and niece came to visit, they, too, stayed inside.
His mom stopped her daily exercise routine of walking down to the apartment complex’s leasing office and back.
'Lawful but awful':
They eventually decided to move in June. Federal agents were still in David’s apartment investigating the shooting as he and his family packed up their belongings — some of the agents even helped, he said.
His daughter is 8 now. She’s started playing outside again, riding her bike around the cul-de-sac in their new neighborhood miles away. His mom has resumed her daily walks.
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David still takes a sleeping aid — hasn’t been able to get a good night’s rest without it since that night.
“For you to know somebody very well,” he said, “and then they get killed in cold blood.”
Follow Jonathan Bullington on Twitter: @jrbullington.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal:
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