Hundreds gather to pay respects at wake for NJ college freshman killed by stray bullet in Nashville

Friday, November 17, 2023
Wake held for NJ college freshman killed in Nashville shooting
CeFaan Kim has more on the wake for Jillian Ludwig.

MANASQUAN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Friends and loved ones gathered in New Jersey Thursday as they prepared to say goodbye to Jillian Ludwig, a Belmont University freshman from New Jersey who was killed after being struck in the head by a stray bullet in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ludwig, 18, was walking on the track in the Edgehill Community Memorial Gardens Park on the night of Nov. 7 when she was hit in the head by a stray bullet. She died two days later from her injuries.

The alleged gunman, 29-year-old Shaquille Taylor, was arrested by Nashville police and allegedly told authorities he was firing at a vehicle.

More than a week after the incident, the Manasquan, New Jersey community still hurting from the loss, came together for the family.

If the Ludwig family needed a strong shoulder to lean on, there was literally a team at the Orender Family Home for Funerals to support them.

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The Wall High School football team were among hundreds of loved ones who turned out to share in the family's pain.

The parking lot overflowed with support from mourners who streamed down the side of the road for a chance to say goodbye.

Last Thursday, many also gathered at The Church in Brielle after learning Ludwig had passed.

The young woman from Wall Township, New Jersey, was just starting her journey of studying music business at Belmont. Friends say her talent could light up the world.

The musical director at the church where Ludwig played for over a decade said she was a quiet force who allowed her music to speak through her.

"Jillian was a radiant and talented young woman full of enthusiasm, compassion, and love. Her music, service, and positive attitude made the world a better place. In her short 18 years, Jillian made a remarkable impact on countless people and her spirit will continue to bring light to the world," her obituary said.

A mass will be held Friday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at St. Mark's Church in Sea Girt, New Jersey.