(The Post Millennial) – An off-duty Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy is thought to have been “targeted” and “ambushed” in a fatal shooting in Louisville, Kentucky. Brandon Shirley, 26, was working security at a car dealership at the time.

The shooting occurred at Rockford Lane Auto Sales at around 2:30 am on Thursday, said Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) spokesperson Alicia Smiley.

An unknown suspect walked up and shot him while he was in his personal vehicle performing security for a car dealership. WLKY News reported that Shirley was taken to University of Louisville hospital, but “his wounds proved to be too extensive and he did not survive,” said Sheriff John Aubrey.

LMPD Chief Erika Shields called the shooting “sickening” and “absolutely heartbreaking and wholly unnecessary,” adding, “he was targeted, and he was ambushed.”

She said they have a couple of potential suspects, but no arrests have been made. The department is actively handling the investigation.

“If someone is really determined to kill you, they will kill you. And that was the case here,” she said, adding, “We will make an arrest.”

Shirley joined the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on March 15, 2019, and was recently awarded the Medal of Valor for actions he took during a shooting last year after he ran into a crowd to help a photographer who was shot and killed during a protest in Louisville. He served primarily with the court security division.

“To lose a good deputy is paramount. To lose one under these circumstances makes it more difficult for everybody,” said Major George Grissom. “He was a good person. He was good to be around,” he said, acknowledging Shirley was beloved by all.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear sent his condolences Thursday morning following Shirley’s death. “Britany and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the family of Deputy Brandon Shirley and the brave members of the Jefferson Co. Sheriff’s Department,” Beshear said. “We are forever grateful for Deputy Shirley’s bravery, selflessness and dedication to the people of the commonwealth.”

Law enforcement agencies throughout the state of Kentucky offered their condolences Thursday to Shirley, his family, and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

According to WLKY News, hundreds gathered Friday night in Fairdale for a vigil to honour the life of the slain deputy. At sunset, the crowd lit candles as they heard from speakers.

Shirley’s parents, brothers and partner of six years were in attendance. They were joined by local church leaders, first responders and all those who knew him from his time growing up in the area.

Shirley’s father thanked everyone for coming out and called his late son a “true blessing.” He pledged to establish a foundation to help other families dealing with similar situations.

The FBI and ATF are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Brandon Shirley’s death.

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