A troubled Kentucky Black Lives Matter activist who helped lead Breonna Taylor protests in her hometown of Lousiville has been shot dead, according to reports.
Hamza “Travis” Nagdy — who often led marches while preaching through a megaphone — was gunned down just before 12:30 a.m. Monday near the University of Louisville campus, the Courier Journal reported.
The 21-year-old activist was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, the paper said. Police have released few details about the shooting, and the reports have not suggested a link to his protest.
Fellow protesters put up memorials for him in the city, while an online fundraiser started by his sister had raised almost $30,000 by Wednesday afternoon — twice the target to cover funeral costs.
“He was an inspirational leader,” his sister, Sarah Nagdy, wrote on the fundraiser, calling him “an avid activist for Black Lives Matter.”
Nagdy previously recalled to the local paper his upbringing as “a screwed up little kid” who spent time in foster homes and then jail before finding his calling with the protest movement over Taylor’s police-shooting death in March.
“I’m an ex-foster kid, I’m a felon and I don’t have my GED,” he told the Courier Journal last month.
“I spent three years or four years, not consecutively, incarcerated. And next week I’m flying to New York with Until Freedom. I’m having lunch with a state representative. I got people asking me to lead marches,” he bragged of his apparent transformation.
He also told the Associated Press that his background proved that “it doesn’t matter where you came from” because “you’re here right now, you’re in this movement.”
Antonio T-Made Taylor, a friend and mentor to Nagdy, called him irreplaceable.
“Travis really believed he could help change systemic racism,” Taylor said. “He believed he could be a big part of that change.
“If you ever needed to see hope in a young man, you could look at Travis and see it. … He was inspiring, he was insightful, he was encouraging. He was so willing to learn. He was just a beacon of hope. Him and his megaphone.”
Louisville police are investigating, and no suspects have been identified.
With Post wires