New details emerge in chaotic moments after Breonna Taylor shooting

ALLIE YANG, JOSEPH DIAZ, DENISE MARTINEZ-RAMUNDO, SABINA GHEBREMEDHIN and STEPHANIE WASH
·15 min read

Police were executing multiple search warrants in connection to a drug investigation that involved Taylor's ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover. In the late-night search that ensued at her home, Taylor, a 26-year-old certified emergency medical technician, was killed and an LMPD Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly was shot and seriously injured.

Glover, the main target of the investigation, was already in custody at the time of the shooting at Taylor’s home. No drugs were found at Taylor’s home, according to police.

While there is no video of the shooting itself, body camera video from the responding officers shows the chaos in the moments that followed.

In addition to showing dozens of officers responding to the scene, video also shows Walker being placed under arrest while he was bewildered by the shooting, still shell-shocked over his girlfriend’s fatal wounds.

Walker was taken into custody on charges of attempted murder of a police officer. Two months later, the charges were dismissed.

The video shows an officer telling Walker he’s “going to -------- prison … for the rest of your -------- life.”

ABC News has been covering the Breonna Taylor case in collaboration with Louisville's Courier Journal. Watch the full story on "20/20" Friday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

Dueling stories about the shooting at 3003 Springfield Drive

The evening of March 12 was supposed to be a sweet one for the young couple. It was one of the first nights Taylor had off from work in some time. She and Walker decided to have a night out at Texas Roadhouse.

“It was a normal day. We went out to eat,” Walker said in an interview with ABC News and Courier Journal. “Then we went home.”

PHOTO: Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, was with her the night she died. (ABC)
PHOTO: Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, was with her the night she died. (ABC)

Taylor’s younger sister, Ju’Niyah, was out of town, leaving the apartment alone to the couple. They spent the evening playing cards, then watching the 2010 film “Freedom Riders.”

“It was just chilling, playing UNO, you know, watching the movie,” Walker said. “[We] didn't even get to finish. … She was falling asleep, and so was I.”

Then, at 12:40 a.m., “there was a loud bang at the door,” he said.

PHOTO: Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old certified emergency medical technician, was killed in March when police executed multiple search warrants at her home. (Bianca Austin)
PHOTO: Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old certified emergency medical technician, was killed in March when police executed multiple search warrants at her home. (Bianca Austin)

Walker disagrees with the police account of what happened in the next crucial seconds.

MORE: Timeline: Inside the investigation of Breonna Taylor's killing and its aftermath

Mattingly said in an exclusive interview with ABC News and Courier Journal that he remembers “bangin' on the door” himself. He was one of seven Louisville police officers executing a narcotics search warrant that night.

He says he was not part of the team that had been investigating Glover, and was just called to help that night. He says he “verbally heard” the warrant was issued as a “no knock,” but claimed the police planned to knock anyway because Taylor’s home was what police called a soft target.

“We were told that their main target, [Glover], had packages sent to this location. [Taylor] had possibly held dope for him, received the packages, and held his money,” Mattingly said in a statement to LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit.

PHOTO: LMPD Sgt. Jon Mattingly was shot in the leg the night police executed multiple search warrants at Taylor's home. (ABC)
PHOTO: LMPD Sgt. Jon Mattingly was shot in the leg the night police executed multiple search warrants at Taylor's home. (ABC)

Later, Glover said in an interview with ABC News and Courier Journal that “nothing [had] ever been illegal” at Taylor’s home.

“Shoes and clothes and ---- coming through the mail is not illegal,” he said. “I’m not bringing no box, she’s not bringing me no box, none of it. She’s not bringing nothing.” Glover says he also has not been involved with drugs.

Mattingly said police smacked the door with an “open hand” the first time they knocked.

“First time [we] didn't announce [we were police],” he said. “Just hopin' [Taylor would] come to the door so everything was quiet, neighbors wouldn't come out.”

PHOTO: Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old certified emergency medical technician, was killed in March when police executed multiple search warrants at her home. (Family of Breonna Taylor)
PHOTO: Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old certified emergency medical technician, was killed in March when police executed multiple search warrants at her home. (Family of Breonna Taylor)

Walker remembered Taylor called out, “‘Who is it?’”

MORE: Officer involved in Breonna Taylor shooting sues Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker

“Nobody said anything,” Walker said. “So at this time we're getting up to put on clothes to see who it is, and then there was another loud bang at the door.”

Mattingly claims police did then announce themselves.

“I yelled, ‘Police, search warrant. Police, search warrant,’” he said. “There was a total of six bangs, six different knocks at the door while we're doing this.”

“It's too late for anybody to be knocking on the door,” Walker said. “So I grab my gun, then we proceed to go answer the door.” Walker said he and Taylor never heard the police announce themselves.

Mattingly remembered his lieutenant giving the order to ram the door open.

“When we get right in the doorway of the bedroom, the door flies open,” Walker remembered.

Mattingly says there were no lights on in the apartment. He says his line of sight was illuminated solely by a TV in the back bedroom and the lights on the officers’ guns.

“I step in the doorframe to clear the hallway; I can see two figures,” Mattingly said. “I've done probably 2,000 search warrants where I've made entry. And I've never seen two people lined up like this down a hall.”

The police and the young couple were standing off on opposite sides of a narrow hallway, only about 25 feet apart, when the shooting started.

PHOTO: The video shows the SWAT team checking each room in Taylor’s home, finding casings outside and throughout the apartment. (LMPD Crime Scene and Autopsy)
PHOTO: The video shows the SWAT team checking each room in Taylor’s home, finding casings outside and throughout the apartment. (LMPD Crime Scene and Autopsy)

“Protect Breonna, protect myself,” Walker said. “That's what was going through my head.”

Mattingly said he could see that Walker was holding a gun.

“My eyes went straight to the barrel of this gun,” Mattingly said. “I could see the tip of it. And my eyes just focused in on it.”

Walker, a legal gun owner, said he “let out one shot at the ground,” which he later described as a warning shot.

PHOTO: Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, was with her the night she died. (ABC)
PHOTO: Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, was with her the night she died. (ABC)

“I'm figuring it's intruders or somebody trying to break in and harm us,” he said. “I couldn't see anybody. It was pitch black in there.”

Mattingly told a different story.

MORE: 'Protect Breonna, protect myself': Breonna Taylor's boyfriend recounts night she was killed

“[Walker] wasn't shooting at the ground,” he said. “He was in a stretched out [position] with two hands, looking straight at me. Our postures were the same, looking at each other. “

Deja Moore, who lives directly across from Taylor’s apartment, said she woke up in the middle of the night to gunshots.

PHOTO: The video shows the SWAT team checking each room in Taylor’s home, finding casings outside and throughout the apartment. (LMPD Crime Scene and Autopsy)
PHOTO: The video shows the SWAT team checking each room in Taylor’s home, finding casings outside and throughout the apartment. (LMPD Crime Scene and Autopsy)

“I jumped out of my sleep,” she said. “It just felt like you was in a movie, because you just heard, ‘Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,’ and the[re] was a short break and then it just started firing off again.”

“All these gunshots started just going and it was just insane,” another neighbor, Summer Dickerson, told ABC News. “So I immediately called 911.”

“There was a lot of gunshots just now. ... They are still shooting,” Dickerson said in the released 911 call. “Come on, come on, y’all need to get over here, they’re shooting the hell like crazy.”

Mattingly and two other officers immediately returned fire after Walker’s one shot. Police fired thirty-two shots into the apartment.

“Everything happened in milliseconds. ‘Boom, boom, boom,’ returned four shots,” Mattingly said. “I reached down and felt my leg. And I could feel a handful of blood. And I thought, ‘That's my femoral artery.’”

He said he immediately knew to “get a tourniquet on it or I'm gonna die."

PHOTO: LMPD Sgt. Jon Mattingly was shot in the leg the night police executed multiple search warrants at Taylor's home. (ABC)
PHOTO: LMPD Sgt. Jon Mattingly was shot in the leg the night police executed multiple search warrants at Taylor's home. (ABC)

“There was just a hail of gunfire, and I grabbed Breonna and I dropped to the ground, and I was holding her hand while we went down,” Walker said.

He remembers his girlfriend cried out in her final moments.

“She was scared to death, as was I, but she did scream at some point in time when she got hit,” he said. “I assume she had to get hit, or either she got hit or she was scared, either one, but she screamed. That's the last sounds that she made.”

Mattingly said in that moment, his intent was “to stop the threat, whatever that was. I wanted to get home to my family.”

He remembered seeing Walker dive into a room and remembered shooting at the room’s opening “to neutralize the threat,” Mattingly said.

“[The gunfire] was coming from every which direction,” Walker said. “It was coming from a window that was, like, in the room next to us. They was coming down the hallway. They was coming in the living room.”

Chaos in the aftermath of the shooting

Donavis Duncan, an LMPD officer who lived in Taylor’s apartment complex, heard “a huge volley of [gun]shots -- probably about 20 to 25 shots.”

“I immediately put my police officer uniform on,” he said. “I put my bulletproof vest on and I sprinted down to see what was going on.”

MORE: 'Breonna Taylor is now attached to me for the rest of my life,' Sgt. Jon Mattingly says in exclusive interview

After the shooting stopped, Walker remembered holding his girlfriend while he called his mom. He told her someone was trying to break in, Velicia Walker told ABC News. She told him to hang up and call 911.

“I don't even know what's happening. Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker tearfully told the 911 operator. “I don't know. She's on the ground right now. … Help! Oh my God. Breonna, help!”

PHOTO: Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old certified emergency medical technician, was killed in March when police executed multiple search warrants at her home. (Family of Breonna Taylor)
PHOTO: Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old certified emergency medical technician, was killed in March when police executed multiple search warrants at her home. (Family of Breonna Taylor)

The release of his heartbreaking 911 call in May set off days of mostly peaceful protests in the city. Hundreds took to the streets and some were met with pepper balls and tear gas, according to Courier Journal. The National Guard was sent in and a curfew was instituted in the city.

After the 911 call, Walker called Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer. He explained someone shot her daughter, she said, and she immediately headed to Taylor’s apartment complex.

PHOTO: Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, continues to seek justice for her death. (ABC)
PHOTO: Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, continues to seek justice for her death. (ABC)

Walker recalled hearing the police outside while on the phone with Taylor’s mother. “But I was really thinking that the police came to help,” he said.

“A group of officers were there kind of yelling in the direction of that apartment,” Duncan remembered. “And it sounded like they were calling somebody out.”

The shooting had stopped. Breonna was dead and officers in the parking lot were tending to a wounded Mattingly.

“Everything is going so slow at this point. You know, when you're in pain, you're just, like, ‘Just get me somewhere to gimme somethin’,'” Mattingly, who was shot in the leg, remembered. EMS arrived and took him to the University of Louisville Hospital where he had a five-hour surgery that saved his life.

The video shows the SWAT team checking each room in Taylor’s home, finding casings outside and throughout the apartment.PHOTO:  (LMPD Crime Scene and Autopsy)
The video shows the SWAT team checking each room in Taylor’s home, finding casings outside and throughout the apartment.PHOTO: (LMPD Crime Scene and Autopsy)

Dozens of uniformed officers, in addition to the initial seven who were executing the warrant at Taylor’s apartment, had arrived at the scene by this point. Most were armed and had their weapons trained on Taylor’s apartment.

Body camera video appears to show the arriving officers were all learning about the shooting in real time. The original officers had only stepped into the doorway of the apartment before the shooting started and could only guess at what was beyond.

Of the little information the arriving officers received, they heard one of their own had been shot.

The new officers were told the suspect is “still inside barricading with a long rifle, it looks like an AR,” according to body camera video.

Walker eventually walked out with his hands raised minutes after the shooting. In body camera video, he tells officers he’s scared.

“Walk back or I’ll send this dog. Walk back to me,” an officer ordered Walker. “Keep on walking. Walk now. Walk. Lay your hands on your head, get down on your knees. Get down on your knees. Put your hands behind your head.”

As he was being handcuffed, Walker asked, “What’s going on?”

Former Louisville police Detective Brett Hankison, one of the seven original officers involved in the shooting who shot 10 times into the apartment, replied, “You are going to -------- prison, that’s what’s going on … for the rest of your -------- life.”

On the body camera video, Walker is heard explaining to the police that his girlfriend was killed in the shooting that suddenly broke out in her apartment. An officer who was a part of the original group executing the search warrants said they announced themselves three times.

PHOTO: Breonna Taylor with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker. (Velicia Walker)
PHOTO: Breonna Taylor with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker. (Velicia Walker)

Police demanded Walker say who shot at them. In the tense moment, he told police it was Breonna, not he, who fired the gun. Later in a police interview, Walker admitted it was actually he who fired a shot. He said he told police it had been Breonna because he was scared.

After the shooting, a SWAT team arrived and then went in to clear the apartment, not knowing whether they might encounter someone hiding with a gun. Body camera shows the team getting the story from some of the first seven officers who were executing the warrant at the apartment.

“As soon as we hit the door, knocked three times, the ------ shot, he’s saying there’s a female, he’s saying she was shooting, he said she’s down in there,” one officer said. The video shows the SWAT team checking each room in Taylor’s home, finding casings outside and throughout the apartment.

“Ma’am, can you hear us? Louisville Metro Police Department. Medic up,” one officer said in the video, realizing Taylor was dead. “This is now a crime scene. Let’s go ahead and move out. All right. She’s done.”

Outside, Walker is seen on video crying while in handcuffs after being arrested.

“Please just don’t let her be dead,” he said in the video.

“I'm in the back of the police car,” Walker said in the ABC News interview. “I'm asking them, ‘Is she OK, like? What's going on with her?’ And nobody was telling me anything. Nobody seemed to be concerned about her, but me.”

“It was terrible, but it didn’t matter, like, once I found out that Breonna’s gone,” he said. “It’s like all this doesn’t even matter.”

Breonna Taylor’s mother left in the dark

When Taylor’s mother got that phone call from Walker saying someone had shot her daughter, she said remembers “all I could hear is Kenny crying.”

“I dropped the phone. And so I started to call her phone and she wasn't answering,” Palmer said. “I rushed over to the apartment.”

When Palmer arrived at the apartment, she says an officer told her she needed to get to the hospital.

PHOTO: Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, continues to seek justice for her death. (ABC)
PHOTO: Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, continues to seek justice for her death. (ABC)

“I went to the hospital and they tell me to hold on. So we wait for almost two hours,” Palmer said. “And she comes back and says, ‘Ma'am there's no record even of this person being on the way here.’"

Palmer went back to Taylor’s apartment complex and approached Duncan.

“She came up over there where I was standing and started to ask questions,” he remembered.

“I asked, ‘Where's Breonna, what's going on?’ So he tells me to hang tight,” Palmer said. “I don't know what to think, you know?”

Duncan got another officer, Sgt. Chris Lane, to speak with her.

“I screamed at him … ‘Why won't you just tell me where Breonna is?’” Palmer said.

In a recently released audio recording, Lane tells Palmer, “I’m sorry in advance for you … she’s in the apartment. Sorry.” Palmer broke down in tears.

“He didn't say it, but I knew it. I knew what it meant,” she said.

“Miss Palmer, nobody should ever have to go through what you're feeling,” Mattingly later said in an interview with ABC News and Courier Journal. “Nobody can sympathize or feel what you're feeling unless they've lost a child. There's no way I could ever tell you enough how much I wish this hadn't taken place.”

8 months later, Breonna Taylor’s story changes policy and pushes reform

Three officers in the group of seven fired their guns that night: Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove and Hankison, who was later fired from the police force. Mattingly, who was injured in the shooting, and Cosgrove were placed on administrative leave.

Louisville’s Metro Council has since passed a law named “Breonna’s Law” banning the use of “no-knock” warrants, which allow the police to forcibly enter people’s homes without giving warning.

Louisville officials also agreed to pay Taylor’s mother $12 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit and to institute police reforms. The city made no admission of wrongdoing and the settlement resolved lawsuits against Mattingly and other police officers involved in the shooting. Federal officials are also investigating possible civil rights violations.

“I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death,” Mayor Greg Fischer said in September. Though the settlement does not change the past, he said, “I hope it brings some measure of peace” for Taylor’s loved ones and the community.

Hankison was the only officer involved in the shooting to be indicted by a grand jury. He currently faces three counts of wanton endangerment for shooting into a neighbor’s apartment. He has pleaded not guilty. None of the officers were charged in connection with Taylor’s death.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said that because Walker fired the first shot, the officers were justified in their use of deadly force to protect themselves.

“I know I will take a lot of criticism,” Cameron told Bowling Green ABC affiliate WBKO of not advising the grand jury of other charges. “But we did the right thing.”

Mattingly said that if police had not given Taylor and Walker time to “formulate a plan”, Taylor's death would have been avoided.

Walker, however, claimed that "Whoever shot her is responsible for her death. Whoever came with that person ... they're responsible. Whoever allowed them to come there ... they're responsible."

"They gotta live with that and feel that every day."

Editor’s note: a previous version of this story attributed a quote to Sgt. Chris Lane. It has been corrected to be from Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly.

ABC News' Keturah Grey contributed to this report

New details emerge in chaotic moments after Breonna Taylor shooting originally appeared on abcnews.go.com