Fired LMPD detective accused of making ‘hit list’ of coworkers wants job back

Christopher Palombi was fired after allegedly threatening to kill some of his supervisors, and he had his first merit board hearing Thursday in a quest to get h
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 4:56 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The former LMPD homicide detective, Christopher Palombi, who was fired after allegedly threatening to kill several of his supervisors had his first merit board hearing Thursday in an attempt to get his job back.

Palombi was fired in February after Chief Erika Shields said he violated the department’s standard procedures by telling officers he was going to kill them.

The former LMPD officers threatened to kill four of his supervisors because he was upset about being relocated to the patrol unit in the Fourth Division, according to LMPD attorney Mitch Denham, who testified before the merit board on Thursday.

Denham said after learning of the reassignment, Palombi called out sick from work for several days in a row and told other officers he was going to “eat a bullet.” Denham added officers became concerned that working in the Homicide Unit was having a negative effect on Palombi’s mental health, and his supervisor, Lt. Donny Burbrink, was tasked with serving him administrative leave papers.

“Burbrink works to get the paperwork together,” Denham said. “Palombi threatened suicide, a shootout if people come, tells them to send SWAT, and several officers try to calm him down.”

During the hearing, the board learned LMPD sent Palombi to a mental health treatment center in California for 30 days, which he completed successfully.

Palombi’s attorney, Thomas Clay, told the board that Palombi was promised he would be able to return to work if he finished the program, but instead he was fired.

“All I know is he got back, and as soon as he stepped off the aircraft back from California, he was served with pre-termination papers that led us to where we are today,” Clay said.

Palombi was fired while investigating several homicides. Some homicide victims’ families told WAVE News that no one has taken over their loved ones’ cases, despite LMPD telling them the cases would be reassigned to a new detective.

Ashley Smith is still waiting for answers in the case of her fiancé, Terry Smith, who was shot and killed on I-264 last September while driving to work.

“Terry’s case has sat there for seven months,” Ashley said. “We don’t have any information as of now, and all of the time we’re losing evidence, and we’re not going to get that back.”

Ashley said every time she calls LMPD to find out what’s going on with the case, she hits a roadblock. She was told it would be months before Terry’s case is assigned to a new detective.

On Feb. 18, LMPD notified WAVE News that all of Palombi’s cases had been transferred to different investigators. The homicide team is working on an investigation strategy, and the new investigators will contact families soon, according to the agency.

The merit board proceedings for Palombi will resume on May 20.

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