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Officer fired in shooting death of Breonna Taylor, Louisville police say

Breonna Taylor, 26, was killed during a police raid of her Kentucky apartment. By Theresa Waldrop, Ray Sanchez and Elizabeth Joseph, CNN

(CNN) -- A police officer involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, has been fired more than three months after Taylor's death, according to the police department.

Det. Brett Hankison was informed in a letter signed by the the police chief that his employment with the department "is terminated," effective immediately.

The Louisville Metro Police Department posted the letter, dated June 23, on Twitter.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT, was killed when police broke down the door to her apartment in an attempted drug sting and shot her eight times. Hankison and two other officers were later put on administrative leave.

"I find your conduct a shock to the conscience," Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote in the letter. "I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion."

CNN reached out to Hankison and his attorney for comment but has not heard back.

Protests against police brutality that erupted after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis last month have, in Louisville, largely centered on Taylor's death.

Mayor Greg Fischer said last week he had initiated termination proceedings against Hankison.

Hankison violated standard operating procedure when his "actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life" when he "wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds" into Taylor's apartment, Schroeder wrote in the letter.

Some of the rounds Hankison fired went into an apartment next door, "endangering the three lives in that apartment," Schroeder wrote.

Much of Schroeder's letter on Tuesday echoed what he had written in a letter released last Friday.

"The result of your action seriously impedes the Department's goal of providing the citizens of our city with the most professional law enforcement agency possible," he wrote. "I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Your conduct demands your termination."

Lonita Baker, an attorney for Taylor's family, said Friday that the family was "excited to get this news and are encouraged by it."

"This is just one step though," Baker added. "We're waiting for the other officers to be held accountable and for additional charges to be filed but this is a step in the right direction."

Baker said on Friday that Breonna's mother "enjoyed getting this bit of news."

Both letters said Hankison was disciplined in January 2019 for reckless conduct that injured an "innocent person," without giving details.

The officers were carrying out a search warrant in a narcotics investigation when they entered Taylor's apartment just before 1 a.m. on March 13, according to the police department.

The no-knock warrant issued by police included Taylor's house because, according to a police affidavit for a search warrant for the raid, which was obtained by CNN, authorities suspected a man involved in a drug ring was receiving packages of drugs at her home.

Taylor's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit two months after her killing, claiming charges of battery, wrongful death, excessive force, negligence and gross negligence.

On May 21, the FBI's Louisville office announced it was opening an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death.

Also in late May, the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department said it would require all sworn officers to wear body cameras.

The LMPD also said it would change how the department carries out search warrants in response to Taylor's death. Fischer said the changes were the first steps the city would take toward improving police accountability.

LMPD Chief Steve Conrad was fired on June 1 after it was discovered the officers present at the shooting death of a Black man named David McAtee during a Louisville protest did not have their body cams turned on.

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