Brandon Shirley was a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was shot and killed while working an off-duty security job in Louisville, Kentucky. He was “targeted and ambushed,” police say. No arrests have been made. The shooting happened on Thursday, August 5, 2021.
The 26-year-old Shirley was shot dead inside his personal pickup truck while on a security detail at Rockford Lane Auto Sales about 2:30 a.m. The car dealership is located in Shively, Kentucky, which is a suburb of Louisville. The shooting is being investigated by the Louisville Metro Police Department.
Police Have Not Released Any Information About Potential Suspects
Sheriff John Aubrey said Deputy Brandon Shirley was shot by an “unidentified assailant or assailant while working an off-duty job.” Shirley was in uniform, but was in an unmarked vehicle, his personal pickup truck, authorities said.
Shirley was rushed to a local hospital and “did not survive the surgery,” Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Carl Yates told CNN. “He was acting in the line of duty,” Yates said.
Louisville Metro Police Chief Erika Shields told reporters at a press conference Thursday morning the attack was “sickening,” and “absolutely heartbreaking and wholly unnecessary.”
Aubrey said at the press conference about Shirley, “He loved being a deputy sheriff, and he was a good one. … He’s a young deputy. Very active, very proactive and courageous. Good deputy. Well-liked.”
Shields said, “At this time we have to be very limited with the information we put forward. But we can say with a feeling of confidence that he was targeted and that he was ambushed. And it just sickening. We will make an arrest. I just can’t express my condolences enough to all of you.” Shields added, “For police, if someone is really determined to kill you, they’re going to kill you. And that was the case here.”
Police released few details about the shooting, but Shields said, “We believe that we may in fact have a couple of potential suspects.” She did not get into further details about the possible suspects or what has led investigators to them.
Shirley, Who Was a Jefferson County Deputy for 2 Years, Was Honored With a Medal of Valor for His Response to a Deadly Shooting That Occurred During Protests in 2020
Shirley had worked as a deputy since March 2019 and was assigned to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s court security division, Aubrey said. “He was only 26 years old,” Aubrey said. “Brandon received a medal of valor at our lasts awards ceremony.”
Shirley and three other deputies were given the award for their response to a shooting that occurred during protests in Jefferson Square Park in Louisville in June 2020. Shirley and others rushed to aid the victim of the shooting, Tyler Gerth, a 27-year-old photographer who later died. “For their actions that day, leaving the security of the courthouse and going into the crowd, he was presented with a medal of valor along with three others,” Yates said at the press conference.
According to WHAS, Gerth’s family issued a statement saying, “Our hearts break for Deputy Shirley and his family and for a life taken far too soon due to senseless gun violence. On the night Tyler died, Deputy Shirley rushed from his post inside the Hall of Justice and toward the crowd where shots were being fired and tried to provide first aid for Tyler. We will forever be grateful for his heroic actions that night. We pray that his loved ones can find peace in the face of such devastating loss.”
Shirley Previously Worked as an EMT & Grew Up in Fairdale, Kentucky
Before becoming a deputy in 2019, Shirley worked for more than two years as an EMT in Louisville, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was also an EMT at Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay water park from 2015 until 2018. He said on LinkedIn he had studied physical therapy at Bellarmine University, emergency medical care at Eastern Kentucky University and criminal justice at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
Shirley graduated from Fairdale High School in Kentucky. The school’s athletic department tweeted, “The Fairdale family would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Sheriff Deputy Brandon Shirley. We are all devastated with the news of his passing. Brandon was former graduate and baseball player. Rest in peace Brandon.”
A friend wrote on Facebook:
Brandon Shirley was exactly the type of person you wanted to be a police officer. He was kind, compassionate, respectful, and fair. Brandon spent the majority of his adult life serving the citizens of Louisville first as an EMT, then as a deputy with JCSO. During the civil unrest last summer, he rushed to assist a young man who had been shot in the head outside the HoJ. Brandon provided care until the med crew could arrive, and helped apprehend the suspect. Brandon received the Medal of Valor for his heroic actions. This morning, this deputy was ambushed and murdered by a monster, a coward.
Brandon was full of life and love. He wanted nothing more than to help people. Law enforcement was his dream. He was so happy when he was hired by JCSO, and we were proud of him when he graduated. Today is truly a dark day for everyone, especially those that knew and loved Brandon. He was goofy, energetic, loving, kind, and a great human being. We are better for having known him.
I love you, buddy. I’ll miss our SnapChat conversations, miss seeing your face, miss your goofy snaps. The world is a better place because you lived. Love and prayers to your family, loved ones, and friends. Until I see you again.
Nelson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Walter Wetzel wrote on Facebook, “Brandon Shirley was one of the nicest and most compassionate people I ever had the pleasure of meeting. He was always positive and never quit, no matter the situation. I was floored to hear the news today. When my Sheriff called me to tell me it was you, I was speechless. You will always be my brother in uniform and I’ll always remember you. You deserved better and the fact that the world couldn’t give you that pains me. Till Valhalla, brother.”