WARTBURG (WATE) - Wartburg Police Capt. Ralph Braden died Monday evening from injuries he received after he was assaulted while he was on duty. Now charges against the suspect may be upgraded.
Braden was responding to a call on April 22 at Sunnyside Apartments. Officials say he had been to the apartment more than a dozen times for domestic disturbance calls.
Officials say after struggling with Eddie Patterson, 30, Braden suffered a dislocated shoulder. He had surgery and was released from Harriman Hospital.
The next afternoon his family couldn't wake Capt. Braden and he was rushed to Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge. He died there Monday evening.
"I definitely think if the altercation had not happened, things would not have happened the way it did," said his son, Michael Braden.
So far, Eddie Patterson has only been accused of assaulting a police officer along with related charges. But the district attorney says that could be upgraded to murder depending on the outcome of the autopsy.
Braden always patrolled Cindy Philips' street. "If you were in the yard, he'd slow down and talk to you, ask you if you were okay," Phillips said.
The oldest of six brothers and sisters, Braden grew up in Wartburg. "He raised his whole family. His Dad passed away when he was 13. He worked full time," his son said.
Braden was also a father and grandfather. His son, Michael, is trying to take in everything that's happened in the last two weeks. First hearing about his father being assaulted. Then standing by him in a coma.
"We were all back there talking to him and trying to get him out of his coma, and that was a tough ordeal to go through," Michael said.
Morgan County Sheriff Glen Freytag released this statement Tuesday:
"Capt. Braden will be missed greatly by the community where he lived and served. I had the honor of working with Capt. Braden for the past 20 years. He was a great friend and fellow officer. In any situation you could count on Capt. Braden lending his assistance. He was always ready and prepared to serve and protect his community. Capt. Braden was a great asset to the Wartburg Police Department and the community where he served. He was always willing to assist any agency that needed his help. We were fortunate to have Capt. Braden as part of our team and he will be greatly missed by his fellow officers and the community."
An autopsy was performed on Capt. Braden.
The family will receive friends Friday evening at Wartburg Middle School from 5-9 p.m. Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 7, at Wartburg Middle School. Interment will follow at Brown Cemetery in Briceville.
Schubert Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.