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Gun violence victim says Breonna Taylor helped him overcome his struggles

Terrell Williams said he met Breonna Taylor at the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute while he was receiving treatment.
Updated: May. 16, 2020 at 9:04 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Breonna Taylor’s family said the 26-year-old wanted to follow in their footsteps and had plans of going back to school for nursing.

WAVE 3 News spoke with a CNA who said he worked alongside Taylor when she was a nursing aide at the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute in Louisville. Terrell Williams said he met Taylor at the institute while he was receiving treatment following his own experience with gun violence. He was shot multiple times in front of the F and H Food Mart on 41st Street near the Shawnee Golf Course.

“He hit me in my chest, lung, and spine," Williams said. “(The bullet) exited out my back. Then I’m hearing gunshots all around me.”

He was shot while someone was trying to steal his car back in 2017.

”I tried to get up and I couldn’t,” Williams said. “I started wiggling left, right, left, right. I reach down, grab my legs, they felt like bags of water."

The shooting left Williams paralyzed, and that’s what brought him to Frazier, where he met Taylor. She was killed in March during a “botched police raid,” her family’s attorney said. LMPD officers trying to serve a warrant ended up in a shootout with her boyfriend. Taylor was shot dead inside her own home.

“You know a lot of times you can tell people are working just for the money," Williams said. “That wasn’t Breonna, though. A spinal cord injury will make a grown man, a grown woman feel like a newborn baby."

Williams said Taylor made sure that wasn’t his story. She went the extra mile to encourage him and give him the support he needed to help him get to the point where he can now drive on his own.

"Everybody’s not like that, so when you see those type of people, that connection is just forever,” Williams said.

Williams said he got a call from another nurse’s aide who told him Taylor was shot and killed by police in March. He said it brought him back to his own experience of being helpless while bullets flew around him.

"Never in a million years would I think the person who’s taking care of me innocently meets the same fate,” Williams said. “It makes no sense to me at all because Breonna was loving, caring, respectful, strong.”

Williams said he sometimes reflects on the fact that he survived, and thinks about how the woman who helped him persevere did not.

"If there was a perfect person, Breonna was it,” Williams said.

Williams is now studying accounting at the University of Louisville. He’s a motivational speaker and sits on the board of Whitney Strong, an organization that fights against gun violence. Williams also owns a business called Rise.Elevate.Live Life. He credits a lot of his success to Taylor.

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