More than 100 law enforcement officers from various police departments have died in the line of duty in the Louisville area, dating back to the 1800s. Although their cases vary, each has left behind an individual legacy and loved ones.
These are just a few of those stories, remembering officers from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Louisville Metro Police Department, and the Louisville Police Department who have passed away in the past 30 years.
(Do you know of a deceased officer or deputy? Contact reporter Mary Ramsey at firstname.lastname@example.org to share her story.)
Deputy Brandon Shirley: An assistant on leave in Louisville dies after being shot. He may have been targeted, according to LMPD
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Assistant Brandon Shirley was shot and killed on August 5, 2021, while working after hours at Rockford Lane Auto Sales.
He was in uniform in an unmarked vehicle, officials said.
Shirley, who was 26, had worked for the department for two years and received a Medal of Valor for his work surrounding the death of Tyler Gerth in a shootout in Jefferson Square Park in 2020. He previously worked with Louisville EMS .
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Gregory Hans was shot and killed while responding to a reported marital dispute on March 10, 1997, according to the Officers Down Memorial, a national nonprofit that tracks the deaths law enforcement.
Hans, who was 48, had been with the service for seven years.
“There is immense sadness”: Authorities Respond to Murder of Jefferson County MP
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Lt. Floyd Cheeks was shot and killed while attempting to serve an emergency protection order on October 27, 1993, according to the Officers Down Memorial.
Cheeks, who was 37, was posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
Note: Other members of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office died in the line of duty before 1991. For their stories, visit the Officers’ Memorial here.
Louisville Metro Police
LMPD officer Zachary Cottongim died of his injuries after being hit by a car on Interstate 64 on December 18, 2021.
He was on foot and dealing with an abandoned vehicle when it was struck by a driver who lost control of his vehicle, LMPD said.
Cottongim, who was 29 and a second-generation LMPD officer, had worked in the department for about seven years.
LMPD officer Martez Hughes died from what was initially reported as a “cardiac event” during an exercise at Chickasaw Park in November 2020.
LMPD later said his death was the result of complications from COVID-19. His death is considered in the line of duty as he is believed to have contracted COVID-19 while at work, according to LMPD.
Hughes, who was 49, had been with the service for 11 years.
Detective Deidre Mengedoht died of her injuries after her vehicle was struck during a traffic stop by a Metropolitan Sewer District employee who was allegedly distracted while driving on Christmas Eve 2018.
Mengedoht, who was 32, had been with the service for seven years. She was the first female LMPD officer to be killed in the line of duty.
More coverage: Murder trial of former MSD driver over Louisville detective’s death postponed to fall
LMPD officer Nick Rodman died of his injuries in an accident while chasing a suspect in March 2017.
In the years that followed, he is remembered throughout Louisville with ceremonies, paintings, and a sign dedication.
Rodman, who was 30, had worked in the ministry for three years. His father and brother also worked for LMPD.
LMPD patrol officer Peter Grignon was shot and killed while investigating reports that a car passed through a yard on March 23, 2005, according to the LMPD.
Grignon, who was 27, had been in the department for two years and was the first member of the LMPD to die in the line of duty.
His impact has continued in the Louisville community since his death, such as in 2019 when a street in Jeffersontown was renamed to him.
Louisville Police Department
Louisville Police Detective Bobby Branham died in May 2013 of complications from gunshot wounds while in the force in 1972, according to the Officers Down Memorial.
Face the loss? : These organizations provide bereavement support in the Louisville area
He was shot in the abdomen in July 1972 during an attempted arrest and had to deal with many health issues related to the shooting for the rest of his life.
Branham was 76 at the time of his death. He was with the Louisville Police Department, which merged with the Jefferson County Police Department to form the LMPD in 2003, for 13 years.
Note: Other members of the Louisville Police Department, as well as members of the Jefferson County Police Department, died in the line of duty before 1991. For their stories, visit LMPD’s Fallen Heroes Virtual Memorial here.
Contact reporter Mary Ramsey at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @ mcolleen1996. Support strong local journalism in our community by subscribing to The Courier Journal today.
This article originally appeared in the Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville, Kentucky area officers killed in the line of duty