Shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, Louisville police entered the apartment of Breonna Taylor and Kenneth Walker using a battering ram to force open the door. The police were investigating two men they believed were selling drugs at a home far from the apartment. The Taylor/Walker home was included in a signed “no-knock” search warrant because of a claim that one of the men used it to receive packages. The suspected drug dealer had allegedly been seen walking into Taylor’s apartment one January afternoon with a USPS package before leaving and driving to a known drug house, and the warrant claimed that a US Postal Inspector confirmed that the man had been receiving packages at the apartment. Postal Inspector Tony Gooden has said that he never spoke to LMPD about this issue and would not have been able to supply that information anyway. Warrants such as these have become commonplace during the War on Drugs, as have multiple instances of stray bullets hitting unintended targets and innocent people being killed and wounded.
Despite the “no-knock” warrant allowing officers not to announce themselves while entering, Louisville police claimed they announced themselves while entering the home after knocking several times and saying they were Louisville police officers with a search warrant. Neighbors and Taylor’s family dispute this claim, saying there was no announcement and that Walker and Taylor believed someone was breaking in, causing Walker to act in self-defense. Walker said in his police interrogation that Taylor yelled multiple times, “Who is it?” after hearing a loud bang at the door, but received no answer, and that he had armed himself as they had heard no response. Walker is a licensed firearm carrier. He then shot first, striking a police officer in the leg; in response, the officers opened fire with more than 20 rounds, hitting objects in the living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and both bedrooms. Taylor was shot at least eight times and pronounced dead at the scene. No drugs were found in the apartment. According to anonymous sources who spoke to WAVE3 News, one of the three officers allegedly fired blindly from the exterior of the residence, through a window with closed blinds and curtains; the sources said they do not believe Taylor was struck by any of the bullets fired by the officer who was outside.