'I'm hit, I'm hit': Off-duty deputy was 'ambushed,' fatally shot, Kentucky police say

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An off-duty Jefferson County Sheriff's Office deputy who was shot early Thursday at a car lot in Shively, Kentucky has died, the sheriff announced.

The deputy, identified as Brandon Shirley, was 26 years old and assigned to the office's court security division. At the time of the shooting, he was working off-duty at a car lot where he was in uniform in an unmarked vehicle, officials said.

He radioed in his own shooting, telling dispatchers, "I'm hit, I'm hit" and requesting EMS.

Shirley had been with the sheriff's department for two years, officials said, and had recently earned a medal of valor for his work.

Jefferson County Sheriff John Aubrey and Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Erika Shields offered their condolences at a press conference Thursday, with Shields pledging there would be an arrest and calling a conviction the department's "highest priority."

Brandon Shirley, 26, a deputy with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, was killed Thursday after being shot in a car lot where he was working off-duty.
Brandon Shirley, 26, a deputy with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, was killed Thursday after being shot in a car lot where he was working off-duty.

LMPD is taking lead on the investigation. Shields said the department "may" have a "couple of potential suspects."

"We can say with a feeling of confidence that he was targeted, and that he was ambushed," Shields said. "It is just sickening. We will make an arrest."

Shields did not provide additional details on why LMPD is confident Shirley was targeted, but said "for police, if someone is really determined to kill you, they're going to kill you. And that was the case here."

LMPD previously said the report of the shooting came in about 2:30 a.m. Thursday. The department said the deputy was sitting in an unmarked vehicle when "someone came up and shot him," a spokeswoman said.

The deputy called the incident in on his radio, LMPD said. Shirley received life support assistance from responding officers and EMS, before being taken to University of Louisville Hospital for treatment.

"Sadly, his wounds provided to be too extensive, and he did not survive," Aubrey said.

No suspect has been named or arrested.

Earlier Thursday, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, Carl Yates, described Shirley as a young deputy who was "very active, very proactive, and courageous."

Matt Salsman, the president of FOP Lodge 25 representing deputy sheriffs, said the lodge's main concern is supporting Shirley's family and his fellow deputies and union members.

Lt. Col. Carl Yates, spokesman for Jefferson County Sheriff's office, speaks at a press conference where it was announced that deputy Brandon Shirley was shot and killed Thursday at a car lot in Shively.
Lt. Col. Carl Yates, spokesman for Jefferson County Sheriff's office, speaks at a press conference where it was announced that deputy Brandon Shirley was shot and killed Thursday at a car lot in Shively.

Everyone is "very, very, very much in shock," Salsman said.

"He was a kid," Salsman said. "I mean, 26 years old. It's heartbreaking."

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear sent his condolences to Shirley's family on Thursday morning, writing in a tweet that he and his wife "extend our thoughts and prayers" to the family and the "brave members of the Jefferson Co. Sheriff's Department."

"We are forever grateful for Deputy Shirley's bravery, selflessness and dedication to the people of the commonwealth."

Louisville Metro Council President David James, too, issued a statement, describing Shirley as someone who "answered the call to keep all of us safe and uphold the law." He called on anyone who has information about the shooting to help LMPD and the sheriff's office "bring this person to justice."

"He leaves us at an age too young," James added. "This is a reminder of all the dangers faced by those who decide to wear a badge."

Reach Billy Kobin on Twitter: @Billy_Kobin

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky sheriff's deputy killed; police believe attack was 'targeted'

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