Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said in an interview about the night she was shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, that justice would be to have her “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 in an interview on “CBS This Morning” that aired Wednesday.
Taylor, 26, an emergency medical technician, was shot and killed 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 investigation was an ex-boyfriend, who lived at another location.
Walker, who was home with Taylor when three Louisville police 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 “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King.
Walker said that they heard a “loud bang at the door” and that they both called out several times but that no one replied.
“We were saying, ‘Who is it?’ There was no response,” he said.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said last month that his investigation showed that police knocked and identified themselves before they entered the apartment and that the account was corroborated by a civilian witness who was near the apartment on the night of the shooting.
Other witnesses have said they did not hear police identify themselves.
A police spokesperson declined to comment Wednesday on Walker’s interview, saying 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 said that he was “deathly afraid” when the front door suddenly came off its hinges but that he knew he needed to protect Taylor.
Walker said that they both got dressed and that he grabbed his gun, firing a single shot. He thought an intruder was trying to enter, he said, and he hoped the shot would scare the person away.
Police said the bullet hit Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg. Walker’s attorneys have disputed that.
Police returned fire, sending dozens of bullets into the apartment. Cameron said Mattingly fired six shots, Detective Myles Cosgrove fired 16 and Detective Brett Hankison fired 10. An FBI analysis determined that Cosgrove fired the 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 said 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 said he realized that Taylor had been shot when she let out a scream. Walker said she was 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 the 911 call, Walker emotionally told a dispatcher that somebody had kicked the door in and shot his girlfriend. He told the dispatcher that he did not “know what is happening.” He later hung up on the dispatcher and called Taylor’s mom.
Walker said that he did not know it was police officers who had shot Taylor and that he at first thought the police were there because he had called 911 for help. When he walked outside, guns were pointed at him and he was being threatened with police dogs, he said.
Walker said that as he was being led to a police vehicle, an officer said it was “unfortunate” that he had not been shot.
Walker said the car pulled over into a parking lot during the ride to the police station. 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; the charges were dropped later. He has filed a civil complaint against Louisville police and the city.
Walker told King that he was never told directly that Taylor had died and that 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 means now, Walker responded: “To me, it means something that’s never going to happen.”
Mattingly and Cosgrove were placed on administrative leave, and Hankison was fired in June. A grand jury last month declined to indict the officers in connection with Taylor’s death, instead indicting Hankison on charges of wanton endangerment for the gunshots that went into a neighboring apartment. He has pleaded not guilty.