Recent court filings from the Kentucky attorney general’s office show investigators discovered two shell casings inside and near Breonna Taylor’s Louisville apartment after a police drug raid that ended in her death.
The findings were revealed by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office in court papers filed this week in the criminal case against fired Louisville Metro police officer Brett Hankison. Hankison is the sole Louisville police officer charged in connection with the raid.
Cameron’s office indicated the existence of the shell casings as exculpatory evidence, meaning it could be considered favorable to the Hankison.
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It’s the first time these specific long-rifle shell casings have been mentioned by authorities investigating Taylor’s death.
Taylor’s sister discovered one of the shell casings behind a storage chest in Taylor’s bedroom, while a man visiting the apartment complex the day of the shooting found another in the parking lot hours later, according to the court filing.
The one-page filing does not say why the shell casings would be favorable to Hankison’s defense.
The FBI has both shell casings “for purposes of testing,” according to the court filing. Taylor, 26, was fatally shot on March 13 by police who broke down her door while serving a warrant, according to officials and past reports.
The commonwealth’s top attorney made no mention of the two casings at a September news conference announcing the indictment against Hankison.
Hankison was dismissed from the Louisville Metro Police Department in June, accused of shooting blindly into the apartment, endangering Taylor’s neighbors.
His attorney, Stewart Matthews, told WDRB-TV in Louisville that he doesn’t know where the shell casings came from.
Matthews said he didn’t know “that there is any importance” to them.
Cameron previously said officers at the scene fired 32 shots, all from handguns. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one shot from his handgun, wounding Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg. Mattingly, and another officer, Myles Cosgrove, returned fire, striking Taylor five times. The shots fired by Hankison did not strike Taylor, according to Cameron.
Walker previously filed a lawsuit against Louisville police. On Friday, Mattingly countersued for his injury during the raid.
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In his counterclaim to Walker’s lawsuit, Mattingly says he suffered “battery, assault and emotional distress” caused by Walker. Walker told investigators he fired his gun because he didn’t know officers were at the door and he thought an intruder was breaking in.
“Mattingly was shot and nearly killed by Kenneth Walker,” the officer’s attorney, Kent Wicker, said in a news release. “He’s entitled to, and should use the legal process to seek a remedy for the injury that Walker has caused him.”
Mattingly’s court filing asserts that he and Cosgrove are protected from being sued because they were performing “discretionary acts in good faith” as police officers. Mattingly asked that Walker’s claim against him be dismissed.
Earlier this month, Mattingly said in his first interview with the news media that Taylor “didn’t deserve to die” in the raid.
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In the counterclaim, Mattingly said when the door was breached, he saw “Walker standing, with gun raised, in a shooting position” and then he shot Mattingly in the thigh. After shooting, “Walker fell to the floor and hid, avoiding being hit by any bullet coming into the residence,” the counterclaim said.
“Tragically, Ms. Breonna Taylor, who had been standing by Walker, was struck by the return gunfire and died of her injuries,” it said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.