Detective Bobby W. Branham

Photo of Detective Bobby W. Branham
End of Watch: Tue, May 14th, 2013
Date of Incident: Sun, Jul 16th, 1972
Cause of Death: Gunfire (Intentional)
Service Time: 13 years
Age: 76


His wife, Mary Carroll Burnett; daughter Cynthia; grandchildren Dustin and Carla; and great-grandson, Westin


Detective Branham died following surgery for complications of a gunshot wound he received in the line of duty 41 years earlier.

Branham was shot on the night of July 16, 1972, during an undercover stakeout of an East Oak Street home police suspected was the base for a prostitution ring.

Branham and his partner, Det. James Stephenson, had parked his personal car in a nearby parking lot and were watching the house when Branham saw two men steal a police radio from his car.

Branham was chasing the two suspects when Stephenson, who had stayed behind, was approached by three other men. The three men, apparently not knowing Stephenson was a police officer, asked Stephenson if he would help them rob two patrons of the home police were monitoring.

Stephenson identified himself as a police officer and grabbed two of the men before the third fled.

About the same time, Branham returned with one of the two suspects in the alleged radio theft.

That's when another man walked up to Branham and Stephenson with a pistol.

Branham, dressed in street clothes, identified himself as a police officer and showed his badge, but the man continued, raised his pistol and fired at almost point blank range, hitting Branham.

Stephenson shot the assailant, who fled but was later caught buy detectives who followed a trail of his blood to a nearby house.

Ivan Ray Jackson Jr., 23, was later convicted in the shooting.

Detective Branham nearly died from his injuries at the time of the shooting. He spent over eight months in the hospital and had eight surgeries during that period. He underwent additional surgeries afterward.

He began his Public Safety career as a Louisville Firefighter and eventually followed his passion and moved to the police department. He considered himself "extremely lucky" to do the work he truly loved and often said he would have been a police officer "even if they didn't pay me." He worked in several areas including Patrol and Vice, and he was a member of the Dive Team. He was recognized as Officer of the Year in 1969 and received the Mayor's Award in 1973.

Following his medical retirement, he eventually served as Chief of Detectives for the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office in Louisville.


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The Louisville Division of Police has been disbanded and absorbed by the Louisville Metro Police Department.


There are 13 tributes for Detective Bobby W. Branham.

Detective Bobby W. Branham
Left by Pat Smith on Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

God gives the families of these brave men and women the strength they need. You just need to ask and I pray that peace is around them now and for the time to come. No one wants this pain but the pride for their service in appreciated. For those that have been injured and those that are still serving daily. May God Bless them all.