The killing of Hamza "Travis" Nagdy marks the 145th homicide in Louisville this year

By Chris Harris
November 24, 2020 12:25 PM
Hamza "Travis" Nagdy
| Credit: Facebook

A leading figure in the movement against racial injustice in Louisville, Kentucky, has been fatally shot, according to local reports.

Hamza "Travis" Nagdy was only 21, but in the seven months since Breonna Taylor was killed by police in a botched drug raid, he became a leading voice in the subsequent protests.

WHAS-TV, WAVE, and the Courier-Journal report Nagdy was killed Monday morning, shortly after midnight, during a carjacking.

First responders rushed Nagdy to nearby University of Louisville Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Violent crime in this city has been on the rise. Nagdy's killing was the 145th homicide committed in Louisville this year.

Nagdy's death is under investigation, but at this point, detectives have yet to identify any possible suspects.

Taylor, an unarmed Black woman — an EMT studying to be a nurse — died March 13 when Louisville Metro Police Department officers executing a no-knock drug warrant opened fire on her apartment.

Police started shooting into the apartment after Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired off a warning shot, not knowing who was attempting to breach the apartment.

Taylor was shot eight times.

Only one of the three officers involved in the shooting is facing charges — not for killing Taylor, but for endangering her neighbors.

As the protests intensified in Louisville, Nagdy became a familiar and immediately recognizable presence. Never without his bullhorn, he earned the nickname "Chants the Rapper" for his creative exhortations.

A vigil was held Monday evening for Nagdy in the city's Jefferson Square Park. More than 200 people attended, holding candles and reciting some of his favorite chants, according to the reports.

"Long live Travis," someone yelled, with others repeating in response.

Protestor Chaunda Lee told the Courier-Journal she'll miss Nagdy's effervescent spirit and words of inspiration.

"I remember that every time I saw Travis — everybody knows he had all of his hair — every time he laid eyes on me, he would just take off running, with his arms out to the sky, and he'd just wrap his arms around me all of the time and hug me so tight every day," she told the paper.

"This is a huge loss," Lee added. "He had plans, he had goals, he had hard times, and he worked through those; he was strong."

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched online to help cover his impending funeral expenses.

His mentor, Antonio T-Made Taylor, said his death has affected many in the city.

"He's irreplaceable," Taylor told the Courier-Journal. "Travis really believed he could help change systemic racism. He believed he could be a big part of that change. ... 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."