LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad has asked his men and women to wear mourning bands for a former officer shot in the line of duty.
It was more than four decades ago when Detective Bobby Branham was critically wounded. His widow, Mary Carroll Burnett said her husband had a lot of scar tissue from multiple surgeries after the 1972 shooting and those complications led to his death May 14.
"He would have gone to work without being paid," said Burnett of her husband. She has gotten an outpouring of support for a man who truly loved the law. "I'm just so proud of him right now," she cried.
It's overwhelming to Burnett as the tributes keep coming for her husband, "I must have had a dozen people offer to do his eulogy," she smiled.
Her husband, former Louisville Police Detective Bobby Branham was the Officer of the Year in 1969. She explained three years later at age 36, Branham was doing some work with the Provost Marshal at Fort Knox. Burnett said, "They were investigating because prostitutes were robbing some of the soldiers."
During the prostitution raid at Annie's on East Oak Street, Detective Branham was told police radios were being stolen out of patrol cars. Police say he grabbed one of the thieves, when convicted shooter Ivan Jackson came around the building with a gun and a demand.
"He told Bob to let him go and Bob said, 'No, he's under arrest and he went to pull out his badge and about that time the fellow shot him," she said.
In critical condition, surgeon Dr. Hiram Polk is credited with saving his life. Branham was so highly regarded, everyone was upset his widow said, even criminals, "A couple of guys that he had actually incarcerated came to him and said now, if you want us to take care of this fellow that shot you we'll take care of him, you know?"
After medical retirement, Branham served as Chief of Detectives for the Commonwealth Attorney. He was recently hospitalized with a bowel obstruction and complications from the scar tissue from the bullet wound made surgery difficult.
The respects coming now for what her husband lived for back then his widow said, would mean everything to him. "He would be so proud, " she paused, "And he would be so pleased."
Branham was 76.
Before becoming a police officer he served as a firefighter. He's also survived by a daughter, two grandchildren and one great grandchild. His family is now eligible for line of duty benefits.
Visitation for Detective Branham will be Friday at Newcomer Funeral Home at 235 Juneau Drive in Middletown from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. with an FOP service at 6 p.m.
A celebration of life will follow at the Mellwood Arts Center at 1860 Mellwood Avenue in Event Room #2. The burial will be private.
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