Wartburg PD Capt. dies from injuries

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WARTBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Community members say Wartburg won't be the same after the death of its police captain.

Ralph Braden, injured in the line of duty ten days ago, died last night at Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge.

"The loss that I feel, it's hard for me to put that into words," said Michael Braden, Ralph's son.

Ralph Braden was a helping hand to the Wartburg community. But he was also, Dad.

"Dad's always been so fair with everybody," said Braden, "He was a dedicated father, a loving husband."

Braden had spent 20 of his 57 years serving with the Wartburg Police Department. His family says Ralph held a lot of jobs throughout the years, as a truck driver and coal miner. But being a cop was what he loved most.

"He was going to be here until he died, and I guess that's what he done," said his brother Chuck Braden.

"I think it was the excitement, and all about helping people. He always put his job before anything," said his sister, Vickie Duncan.

Ralph Braden put his job first on April 22 when he was injured in a fight while out on a call. He never recovered.

Eddie Patterson, charged with aggravated assault of an officer, is behind bars. And friends and neighbors are in disbelief.

"Every body's real upset and sad about it," said Courtney Lavender.

"He was just an all around good guy," said Chad Gandy, a friend and church member.

"There's none like Ralph. He'll be missed," said Gary Stubbs, a friend and former coworker.

His family tells us Ralph saw the best in everyone, but he fought for justice. Now they say they'll find it for him.

"I think he would expect whatever needs to be done will be done," said Chuck.

"I would really like to see that this doesn't happen to another officer," said Michael. "These guys are there to serve and protect us. They don't deserve something like this to happen to them."

The family will greet friends Friday at Central Middle School from 5 to 9 p.m. The funeral will be held at the school Saturday at 11 a.m.

District attorney general Russell Johnson tells me he's awaiting autopsy results to upgrade charges against Eddie Patterson. He says they'll take the case before a grand jury May 16.

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