A man who impacted hundreds of lives through his love for the arts and compassion for people died Saturday morning at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville after being shot three times Tuesday.
About 300 people gathered Saturday night in the parking lot of Michelle’s Consignment Boutique, 1135 U.S. 31-W By-Pass, for a march to celebrate the life of Brandon Bradshaw, 27, who was shot Tuesday by off-duty Warren County Sheriff’s Office court security officer Thomas Brown, 52, in the boutique’s parking lot.
Bradshaw died at 10:10 a.m. Saturday, Kentucky State Police said in a news release.
Friends, family and acquaintances braved freezing temperatures to hold signs that read “Justice for Brandon” and “Healing not Hate” as they marched down the bypass toward Circus Square Park, where a vigil at 7 p.m. honored Bradshaw’s life and supported his family.
“Eight sky lanterns were just released for each member of Brandon’s family,” said Misty Adamson of Bowling Green during the vigil as the paper lanterns flew into the sky, lofted by hot air. “We’re here for them.”
Bradshaw leaves behind a wife and three young children – the youngest, Connor, was born weeks ago.
Prayers were said both in the boutique parking lot and at Circus Square Park, where friends and family members shared their thoughts and stories about Bradshaw.
“The best thing about him is as soon as he would walk in, it’s like sunshine walking into the room,” said Bradshaw’s friend Randall Erskine of Bowling Green, who played in a Christian rock band, Cord of 3, with Bradshaw.
“Brandon loves snow – I think God had this snow for him today,” Erskine said as snowflakes spiraled down on hundreds gathered in Circus Square Park.
Bradshaw’s involvement with the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center as youth theater educator brought several kids out to the march and vigil.
Most were in tears as they reflected on how much Bradshaw influenced their lives and how much he meant to them.
“You could always go to him and be loved,” said Andi Barefoot, 14, of Bowling Green. “He was one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. No matter how hard this is for us, he would want us to be happy.”
J.J. Gibson, 10, of Alvaton, stood at Circus Square Park in tears with his mom, Amy Gibson.
“He was such a generous man,” J.J. Gibson said. “He always had patience with kids.”
Others came to demand justice for Bradshaw. Brown is not charged with any crime related to the shooting.
“We all want Thomas Brown to take responsibility for what he has done,” said Adamson, who went to high school with Bradshaw and helped organize the march.
“I sincerely hope that this man is brought to justice,” said Deanna Weaver of Bowling Green.
People will be disappointed in the justice system if Brown is not held accountable for what he did, Weaver said. “People are not going to stand for it,” she said.
The shooting stunned hundreds who know both Bradshaw and Brown and stirred a public outcry for information from Kentucky State Police, which is conducting the investigation but remain tightlipped about what led to the shooting.
Brown’s attorney, Alan Simpson, said Brown fired in self-defense. Police will not confirm or deny that claim.
“It upsets me when everybody is saying it was self-defense,” said Danny Carder of Bowling Green, who knew Bradshaw for about 13 years. “When you shoot into the vehicle, it’s not self-defense.”