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Woman’s shooting death in Shively shocks community

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LaToya Bray, her cousin found dead in Shively

By Lisa King

Shelby County residents are still reeling in shock and grief over the shooting death of a local woman who had a reputation for being well-liked.

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After a night of fun spent at a concert with her cousin on Saturday, LaToya Bray was gone.

Slain by gunfire, with her family left to mourn and wonder why.

Bray, 35, of Shelbyville and her cousin, Derek Slade, 37, of Louisville were found shot to death in a car near Dixie Highway and the Watterson Expressway at about 4:30 a.m.

Shively Police have charged William T. Truss, 43, of Louisville with two counts of murder. He is being lodged at the Louisville-Metro Detention Center under a $250,000 cash bond.

Shively Det. Josh Meyer said his department received a call at 4:18 Sunday morning of a possible shooting in the vicinity of that interchange.

He said when officers arrived at the scene, a grassy area between I-264E and Exit 8A, they discovered a 2003 silver Mercury Grand Marquis with a bullet hole in the back rear window.

Truss got out of the car, and police discovered Slade and Bray shot in the car.

They were pronounced dead at the scene.

Meyer said no motive has been determined for the shooting. He added that it is believed that Truss knew the victims.

But a family friend, M.J. Patterson, who said her niece was best friends with Bray, said that relationship was more than just a casual acquaintance, that in fact Truss and Slade were best friends.

“Derek’s mother doesn’t believe that he shot them, because they’ve been best friends for years,” she said. “But he’s not speaking, so we’re all just flabbergasted, like everybody else. We don’t know what happened. We have no idea.”

Patterson described Bray as a fun-loving, high-spirited person.

“One thing you always noticed about her, she was always laughing and smiling,” she said. “She never had a mean word to say about anybody. Everybody knew LaToya, and everybody loved her.”

Patterson said the family, Bray’s mother, Mae Beach Bray, and the rest of the family, are “staying close.”

“I was over there most of Sunday afternoon, and there were people coming and going all afternoon,” she said. “ They’re just staying close together and leaning on each other. It’s the only thing they can do.”

Bray had been working at Wendy’s Restaurant in Simpsonville for just a month, but she had already won the hearts of her co-workers.

“She was an excellent worker,” said a former coworker speaking with the condition of anonymity because Wendy’s employees are threatened with termination for speaking to the media. “She was just one of those exceptional people that everybody likes; she got along well with everyone. This has been a terrible shock.”

Bray also had worked as a dog sitter, baby sitter and photographer. Her family is from Bagdad, where she was a member of Centennial Missionary Baptist Church but had been attending Elk Creek Missionary Baptist Church.

Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at Webb Funeral Home.

Meyers said the case is still under investigation and that anyone with any information regarding the case should contact him at 502-448-6181 or Kentuckian Crime Stoppers at 502-582-CLUE (2583).