LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Decades after being shot in the line of duty, a retired Louisville police officer has died from his injuries. Detective Branham was a 12-year-veteran of the police force when he was shot in 1972. For the 40 years that followed, he was in constant recovery, but he never stopped serving.

Retired Navy Seal and fellow dive team member, Rudy Davis, remembers his friend as a well-liked, tough person.

"He never stopped, and his enthusiasm with stuff was great. You couldn't help but just love the man," said Davis.

An old Courier Journal article reveals that Branham was shot in the stomach on July 16, 1972 while conducting a prostitution investigation near the intersection of East Oak and Preston street. The article says while performing surveillance on the building, Branham and his partner James Stephenson saw a man steal a police radio out of Branham's car.

Branham chased down the suspect, while his partner stayed by the car. Branham arrested the suspect and brought him back to the car. At that time, another man approached Branham and fired a pistol at him.

"It was a small caliber weapon which bounced around inside of him, causing a lot of holes in his bowels," said Davis.

The injury followed him for decades.

"Through the years, he has had continued operations to repair."

During a routine surgery this past week, Bobby died on the operating table.

Rudy lost his dear friend, while the Louisville Police force lost a hero.

"Even though you are prepared for all this stuff, sometimes it just comes out of the blue, and you just have to have a good attitude, and Bob had that attitude," said Davis.

Visitation for Detective Branham will be Friday, May 24 at Newcomer Funeral Home located at 235 Juneau Drive in Louisville from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. A celebration of life will follow at the Mellwood Art Center. Burial will be private.

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