Background Check: Digging Deeper Into Ricard Taylor's Past Before Shooting

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

East Lansing, Mich. (WILX) Were there signs of trouble before two people were shot and killed this week?

WILX has spent the day looking into the past of accused killed 34-year-old Ricard Taylor of East Lansing to find out more about his life before the shootings.

A friend of Taylor's, who didn't feel comfortable going on camera or letting us use his name, said Taylor had an insatiable love for music and was someone who was very outgoing.

While some family friends of 27-year-old victim Jordan Rogers told WILX Tuesday they were worried Taylor could become violent, Taylor's friend offered a different perspective.

The friend said he and Taylor knew each other from the area music scene and had met through Taylor's street performances in East Lansing, the same performances documented by Michigan State University's student newspaper "The State News" last year.

Ricard Taylor is also a former member of the U.S. military. Robert Lyon, public affairs officer at Navy Personnel Command confirms Taylor enlisted in February of 2007 and was discharged shortly after in April.

The reason for his discharge could not be confirmed but Taylor's friend said it might've been related to his schizophrenia, which is one of the reasons Taylor has had trouble holding a job as well, according to the friend.

Rogers' finance Sarah Ellena, who has lived next-door to Taylor for two years, said over the phone Thursday she thought Taylor had stopped taking his medication in the days shortly before the shootings.

"He started off normal," she said, adding they noticed an abrupt change in his demeanor in the days leading up to the shooting.

"How did someone with a mental illness have access to a gun is what I want to know."

During his arraignment Wednesday afternoon in 54B District Court in East Lansing, Taylor told Judge Andrea Larkin he was "awaiting employment right now from the government of the United States."

Larkin dismissed the comment saying that would have to wait due to the "seriousness" of the charges he is facing.

Taylor's friend said he had been desperately working to land a job recently. Taylor worked previously as a security guard for the Eli and Edith Broad Art Museum on MSU's campus until October 2013, according to university spokesperson Jason Cody.

Cody could not confirm when Taylor began that job.

Taylor's profile on the professional social media site LinkedIn also lists that he is a client with Express Employment Professionals and a "spiritual leader" who is "fighting off demonic forces."

Lt. Scott Wrigglesworth, spokesperson for East Lansing police said Taylor had a couple "minor non-criminal" incidents on record but other than that he called the situation very "atypical."

"It's not very often we have no police history and then all of a sudden the person winds up suspected of committing two homicides," he said.

Taylor is being held without bond in the Ingham County Jail in Mason. A preliminary hearing is set for May 23 in East Lansing.


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