First Responders

Off-Duty Kentucky Deputy ‘Assassinated,’ Feds Offer $50K Reward

August 11, 2021Joshua Skovlund

Deputy Brandon Shirley was working a security detail when he was shot and killed by an unknown number of people. Photo courtesy of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Federal agents are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for what a Kentucky sheriff’s department is calling the assassination of a deputy.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brandon Shirley, 26, was working an off-duty security job Thursday, Aug. 5, outside of a car dealership. Shirley was wearing his uniform and sitting in his personal vehicle, a red pickup truck, when an unknown number of suspects shot him. Shirley managed to call for help over his radio and was rushed to a local hospital for emergency surgery, but he did not survive his wounds.

“This is personal. We take this extremely personally. We must solve this case,” Beth Ruoff, a Louisville Metro Police Department spokeswoman, said during a Monday, Aug. 9, press conference. “We must bring those [responsible] to justice and have justice for Deputy Shirley’s death.”

LMPD Chief Erika Shields described the killing as a targeted ambush.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the FBI have partnered with local law enforcement for a massive manhunt. They urged community members to call in any available information to help identify the person or persons who killed Shirley. They also requested homeowners and business owners check their security cameras for anything unusual.

When asked why federal agencies were involved in the investigation, Ruoff said it was not protocol but rather the “right thing to do … any time a law enforcement officer is assassinated like this.”

Investigators have released very few specifics about the killing, citing a need to protect the integrity of the case and not say anything that could jeopardize a conviction.

Shirley joined the JCSO in March 2019 and was regarded as a young but decorated officer, Jefferson County Sheriff John Aubrey said. During the civil unrest in Louisville last year, Shirley responded to the shooting death of Tyler Gerth, a photographer. For their bravery and attempts to save Gerth and arrest the suspected shooter, Shirley and three other officers were awarded the Medal of Valor.

Read Next: One Officer Killed, Another ‘Fighting for His Life’ After Chicago Shootout

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis that followed the death of George Floyd. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he earned his CrossFit Level 1 certificate and worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. He went on to work in paramedicine for more than five years, much of that time in the North Minneapolis area, before transitioning to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion, where he publishes poetry focused on his life experiences.

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