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Black Lives Matter holds vigil for Breonna Taylor at UNM

As hundreds of candles illuminated the duck pond, people sang happy birthday across the University of New Mexico main campus Friday evening.

Black Lives Matter Albuquerque, the local chapter of the global organization of the same name, held a vigil to honor and celebrate Breonna Taylor's 27th birthday — along with other lives lost to police brutality — on June 5 at UNM's duck pond in Albuquerque.

Taylor, a 26-year old Black emergency medical technician, was fatally shot at least eight times in her own apartment by police who were searching for someone else on March 13 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Just after midnight on March 13, three Louisville police officers — Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove — used a battering ram to force entry into Taylor's apartment, according to the New York Times.

According to the Louisville Courier Journal, the police were looking for two men who were already in custody. Police said they believed the men were selling drugs out of a house that was more than 10 miles away from Taylor's home.

Despite this, a judge had signed a warrant allowing the police to also search Taylor's residence because the police said they believed one of the two men had used her apartment to receive packages. Neither Taylor nor her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, had any criminal history or drug convictions, and no drugs were found in the apartment.

The judge's order was a "no-knock warrant," which allowed police to enter without warning or identifying themselves as law enforcement.

After the three officers entered their bedroom without identifying themselves as law enforcement, Walker and the officers exchanged fire.

"Walker, believing the apartment was being broken into after being startled awake by police's entry, fired a shot and struck an officer in the leg, his attorney has said. In return, the police shot more than 20 rounds into the home," USA Today reported.

The vigil began at 8 p.m., and many speakers expressed their condolences.

Participants laid flowers and homemade birthday cards in front of a photograph of Taylor surrounded by candles.

Lissa Knudsen contributed reporting to this article.

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Sharon Chischilly is the photo editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @Schischillyy

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