The widow of Brandon Bradshaw, who was shot a year ago today by former Warren County court security officer Tommy Brown, filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday against Brown and the top officials at three local law enforcement agencies.
Heidi Bradshaw’s suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green, claims her husband was killed without due process and that law enforcement at the scene exhibited a reckless disregard of and deliberate indifference to Brandon Bradshaw’s life through conduct that the suit claims was intentional, reckless, deliberate, wanton and/or malicious.
Specifically, Heidi Bradshaw claims a member of a responding agency reported that Bradshaw was “10-7” – police code for deceased – before EMS personnel approached Bradshaw and found he still had a strong pulse, causing at least a seven-minute delay of possibly life-saving medical treatment, and that law enforcement failed to preserve evidence that may have shed light on the events surrounding the shooting.
The lawsuit claims the conduct by law enforcement resulted from the failure of the heads at each department to train and supervise the officers below them and that Brown committed common law battery upon Bradshaw.
Bowling Green attorney Paul Lawless, representing Brown, was not immediately available for comment this morning.
Heidi Bradshaw requests an unspecified amount of damages for the earnings her husband would have accumulated had he lived, for funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, for physical and mental pain and suffering Brandon Bradshaw experienced prior to his death and to compensate her and the couple’s three children for the loss of his love, affection, companionship and support.
“The family’s emotions have gone the entire gamut from despair to disbelief to depression, nothing good,” Bradshaw’s attorney, Gary Logsdon of Bowling Green, said this morning about the year that has passed since the shooting.
“The children haven’t handled it well, as one would understand,” Logsdon said. “The wife – her husband left home healthy as a horse and didn’t come home. That’s a wife’s worst nightmare.”
Brown shot Brandon Bradshaw three times Feb. 26, 2013, in the parking lot of Michelle’s Consignment on U.S. 31-W By-Pass at the end of a road rage incident between the since-resigned court security officer and the 27-year-old youth theater director and former Warren County constable.
Brandon Bradshaw was wounded in his arm, hand and at the base of his skull. He died from his wounds March 2 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
A grand jury considered evidence and heard testimony in the case but did not charge Brown with a crime. Brown, a part-time sheriff’s office employee who resigned from his court security post shortly after being cleared of criminal wrongdoing, has maintained he acted in self-defense.
“The essence of this is ... how many times do you shoot in self-defense,” Logsdon said. “Three times sounds a little odd, doesn’t it?”
Logsdon said he has provided information about the case to the FBI.
“We have cooperated fully with them in sharing our insight,” Logsdon said. “That investigation has apparently not been completed.”
The federal lawsuit names Brown; Warren County Sheriff Jerry “Peanuts” Gaines; WCSO Maj. Randy Hargis; Bowling Green Police Department Chief Doug Hawkins; BGPD Lt. Col. Kevin Wiles, who is deputy chief of field operations; former Kentucky State Police Post 3 commander Capt. Bobby Murray; unknown agents of all three law enforcement bodies; the city of Bowling Green; and Medical Center EMS as defendants.
Logsdon characterizes the road rage dispute in the lawsuit as an incident initiated by Brown after he perceived Brandon Bradshaw’s vehicle came close to striking Brown’s vehicle in traffic on the bypass.
“During the incident, Brown pulled alongside Brandon Bradshaw’s vehicle, asked if Bradshaw was ‘still a constable’ and then ordered Bradshaw to pull over,” the lawsuit states, citing a recording of a 911 call made by Brown’s wife, Mindy Brown, immediately after the shooting.
Bradshaw pulled into the Enterprise Rent-A-Car parking lot and circled to the neighboring consignment shop parking lot, where Brown was waiting.
Brown left his vehicle and approached Brandon Bradshaw’s truck. Brown would later tell the KSP, which investigated the incident, that he remained calm throughout the incident and did not lose his temper, though two witnesses would also tell police that Brown appeared “agitated” or “hostile.”
KSP records of the investigation also show a witness who reported seeing Brandon Bradshaw pull a gun from somewhere in his truck and point it in Brown’s direction.
Logsdon said this morning that it was “impossible” for that witness, Ashley Crowe, to have observed what she claimed, given her vantage point at the scene.
BGPD spokesman Officer Ronnie Ward said the department would not comment on pending litigation. Gaines was not immediately available for comment.
Trooper Jonathan Biven, spokesman at KSP Post 3, referred questions to KSP headquarters in Frankfort.