Frustrated with the lack of answers from Kentucky State Police about the Feb. 26 shooting of Brandon Bradshaw, about 40 of Bradshaw’s friends and relatives took to the streets about 7:30 a.m. today for a protest for justice in front of the Warren County Justice Center. Protesters remained in front of the justice center for hours.
They want answers on what exactly led to the shooting of the 27-year-old youth theater educator. Bradshaw died March 2 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Off-duty Warren County Sheriff’s court security officer Thomas Brown, 52, shot Bradshaw in the parking lot of Michelle’s Consignment Boutique at 1135 U.S. 31-W By-Pass. Brown has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing in the incident. The shooting and the lack of official information from police has sparked widespread criticism of law enforcement in the community.
The group shouted “Justice for Brandon” while holding signs that read “Thou shalt not kill or murder” and “We need answers now.”
Bradshaw’s mother, Jennifer Epley of Bowling Green, said she came out to protest because she wants justice for her son and wants answers for her three young grandsons, who have been asking questions about what happened.
Epley said if Bradshaw had received immediate help at the shooting scene, he would still be alive.
“He died from the lack of oxygen to his brain, Epley said. “That’s what he died from – he didn’t die from the gunshot wounds, he died because assistance wasn’t provided to him.
“I want answers for my grandsons,” Epley said.
“I want to be able to tell them one of these days why it happened. The 6-year old little boy – he doesn’t want to go to school because he’s afraid that the bad guy will come back and get his mommy too,” Epley said with tears in her eyes.
The protest was on a Wednesday, the day when a Warren County grand jury typically meets at the justice center. All grand jury proceedings are secret, and any resulting indictments are later made public, unless sealed by a judge.
“At this point in time, the investigation by Kentucky State Police has been submitted to my office, and we’re awaiting some additional documents,” Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron said today.
When the results of the KSP investigation into the shooting may be heard by a grand jury will be determined when the documents have been assessed, he said. Cohron had no additional comment on the case.
“We want the grand jury to know that we are all here, and that they need to act responsibly and make the right choice,” said Bradshaw’s friend, Misty Adamson of Bowling Green, who helped organize this morning’s protest. “Today is going to be about right and wrong ... arrest this man, please!” Adamson said about Brown.
“I think that this town needs a whole new look,” said Danny Carder, a family friend. “It’s the people that are leaders to law enforcement that need to be replaced.”
Carder said he’s appalled at the handling of the investigation.
KSP has remained tight-lipped about the incident, stating the agency is following legal protocol.
State police have declined to say what transpired prior to the shooting, where witnesses said they saw Brown step out of his vehicle and fire three shots into Bradshaw’s truck.
“We understand the public perception, but at this point our job is to not taint a pool of grand jurors,” Trooper Jonathan Biven, spokesman at KSP Post 3, said Tuesday.
“Just for future – I don’t care how many times you ask, I’m not releasing anything,” Biven said after being asked for additional information.
“We are staying firm with not releasing any information, and that’s to protect the integrity of the case,” Biven said. “Our goal is to make sure we’re not pulling for either side – that’s why we’re not releasing any information.”
Since the incident, Brown’s attorney, Alan Simpson, has stated numerous times that Brown acted in self-defense when he fired shots at Bradshaw; however, Simpson declined to elaborate on which terms Brown’s actions are justified as self-defense.
Brown was “absolutely acting in self-defense,” Simpson said. “I respect people’s rights to have their voices’ heard, but the investigation, as I understand, is being conducted the right way, not the fast way. For anyone to suggest that there’s any cover-up under way is completely ludicrous ... the Kentucky State Police has conducted an exhaustive investigation, they’ve left no stone unturned that I’m aware of.”
Those answers fall short for Bradshaw’s family and friends.
“The longer they stretch it out – they think that people will forget about it,” Carder said today. “What message are we sending our children if we allow people to go out here and shoot someone in cold blood ... if it was anybody else, we’d be in jail right now.”
Rachel Carson of Bowling Green was at the protest with her daughter, Iris Carson, 14, and said Bradshaw helped her daughter build her self-esteem when she was being bullied by kids.
“At age 7 my mom was shot in front of me – there was justice for her in 1977 and it’s 2013 now,” Rachel Carson said about the shooting death of her mother, adding that she understands what Bradshaw’s children are going through.
Those at the protest demanded answers for what they believe was an unjustified act.
“When the case is closed, the general public can do an open record request,” Biven said about how people can get more details on what led to the shooting.