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Brandon Shirley: 2 charged in JCSO deputy’s shooting death; suspect previously charged with felony

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 3:25 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:49 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Two men are charged with murder in connection to the shooting death of Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brandon Shirley.

Jesse Johnson, 28, and Marquis Mitchell, 18, were indicted on murder charges by a grand jury for Shirley’s death, according to Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Erika Shields, during a joint news conference with Mayor Greg Fischer and other law enforcement officials on Thursday. Jefferson Circuit Court documents show both men are charged with complicity to murder with $500,000 bonds.

Shirley was 26 when he was shot on Aug. 5 while working an off-duty security job at the Rockford Lane Auto Sales dealership in his unmarked car around 2:30 a.m. The deputy later died at the hospital.

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Jesse Johnson (left), 28, and Marquis Mitchell, 18, were indicted on murder charges by a grand...
Jesse Johnson (left), 28, and Marquis Mitchell, 18, were indicted on murder charges by a grand jury for Shirley’s death(LMDC/Floyd Co. Detention Center)

Johnson is being held in the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections and Mitchell is in custody at Floyd County Corrections.

Shields mentioned that Mitchell was caught by U.S. Marshals on Wednesday in Floyd County, Ind., with the help of the New Albany Police Department and the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department. The investigation is being handled by the LMPD Public Integrity Unit and Homicide Unit, with the help of the Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms Louisville Field Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

The two suspects are scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 18.

Shirley was 26 when he was shot on Aug. 5 while working an off-duty security job at the Rockford Lane Auto Sales dealership in his unmarked car around 2:30 a.m. The deputy later died at the hospital.

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“We could not have accomplished this alone,” Shields said before thanking the law enforcement agencies who have assisted in the case.

Shields refused to answer questions from reporters during the press conference. They did not reveal any details about a possible motive, or why they believe the two suspects are involved.

”I wish we could answer more questions, but right now our priority is a conviction,” Shields said.

The indictment, which had been sealed until the release of the suspect’s names, revealed no additional information. The document is one page in length and lists the charges against the two men.

“We want all of this evidence to come out and convict these individuals,” she said. “Put them away, where they belong, caged like animals.”

Johnson had been in jail a few weeks after Shirley’s shooting. WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters found Johnson was arrested on September 10 for robbery in the first degree, which is a felony.

During his time in jail, he was charged yet again. According to those records Johnson attacked another inmate at LMDC with a sock filled with dominos. The assault caused a “large laceration.”

Johnson also had a number of additional criminal charges including those related to drugs, trafficking and fleeing from police.

Mitchell did not have a criminal history until the murder charge related to Shirley’s death.

Shirley’s death, according to Fischer, has had an impact on local law enforcement officers and the community as a whole, and he knows the public has been waiting for information on the investigation.

“I know some folks think it’s taken a bit longer than it should, and it’s because we wanted to get this right,” the mayor said.

Shields said hours after his death she believed Shirley was targeted.

“He was targeted and he was ambushed. It’s just sickening,” she said on Aug. 5. “We will make an arrest. We will make an arrest.”

Shirley joined the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on March 15, 2019, where he worked worked security at the Louis D. Brandeis Hall of Justice. Before becoming a sheriff’s deputy, Shirley served two years as an EMT with Louisville Metro Emergency Services.

The Shirley family was not present during the press conference Thursday, but did provide a statement on the arrests on Thursday evening:

“Our son, Brandon, dedicated his career to public service and the pursuit of justice for all. Today’s indictments mark a significant step forward in obtaining justice for Brandon. Thank you to the local, state, and federal law enforcement officers and this community for your work on this case.

We have many unanswered questions, including why our son was murdered.

We continue to pray for answers, sooner rather than later, and give thanks for the hope, love, and support that we’ve received.”

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