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LMPD detective threatened to kill coworkers, pre-termination letter says

LMPD Det. Christopher Palombi
LMPD Det. Christopher Palombi(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 4:43 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2022 at 5:54 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A homicide detective with the Louisville Metro Police Department may be fired on Monday morning after LMPD served him with a pre-termination notice after “making threats to kill members of LMPD.”

LMPD Officer Christopher Palombi was actively targeting some of his coworkers, his pre-termination letter from LMPD Chief Erika Shields says. Following an investigation by the LMPD Professional Standards Unit, it was discovered that he violated two standard operating procedures, one of which was the obedience to rules and regulations for telling coworkers in January that he would bring guns to the Homicide Unit and “kill people,” including four specific LMPD officers.

“These threats constitute a violation of KRS 508.080 Terroristic Threatening in the Third Degree,” the letter says.

Palombi is also accused of violating the conduct unbecoming procedure by “making threats to kill members of LMPD, bringing discredit to the department.” He also directed a sergeant to inform members of the Homicide Unit not to come to the office.

In part, the letter states:

“I have determined you violated Standard Operating Procedure 5.1.2 0bedience to Rules and Regulations when you made statements that you were going to bring guns to the Homicide Unit and kill people, specifically identifying -----, -----, and ----- as individuals you were going to shoot. Further, you also threatened to kill -----. These threats constitute a violation of KRS 508.080 Terroristic Threatening in the Third Degree.

You violated Standard Operating Procedure 5.1.3 Conduct Unbecoming by making threats to kill members of LMPD bringing discredit to the department. Further, your threats caused ----- to give a direct order to the Homicide Unit detectives and sergeants to refrain from going to the office which impacted the morale, operations and efficiency of the Homicide Unit. Additionally your actions and threatening statements made on January 13, 2022 and January 14, 2022, demonstrated an ‘Incapacity for duty.’

Your conduct has severely damaged the image of our Department within the community. The result of your actions seriously impedes the Department’s goal of providing the citizens of our city with the most professional law enforcement agency possible. I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Your conduct demands your termination, and it is in the best interests of the Louisville Metro Police Department and our community that your employment be terminated.”

The letter was signed by Shields.

LMPD issued the following statement regarding Palomi’s pre-termination, denying rumors of a “kill list” with a target in the Hall of Justice:

“Christopher Palombi has been served with a pre-termination notice. Pursuant to KRS 67C.326(1)(f) we are not permitted to discuss the pending disciplinary charges. We have received a copy of a statement from the Sheriff’s office that contains information that we believe is inaccurate. For example – we have no information to believe there is a “kill list” or that an individual in the Hall of Justice is a target. All appropriate precautionary measures are being taken.”

Palombi’s attorney, Thomas Clay, called his client’s actions “disturbing,” but added that he suffers from PTSD and did not pose a threat to his coworkers.

“There was an episode that caused concern and we think the proper course is for him to continue to undergo treatment, and we are hopeful that we can convince Chief Shields that terminating his employment is not the right thing to do at this point,” Clay said. “He basically blacked out and engaged in conduct that was certainly inappropriate but didn’t pose a threat to anyone accept himself. I don’t want to go into the details about what the conduct was. It was definitely disturbing. There is no question that Detective Palombi has been under treatment for PTSD.”

Palombi’s pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Monday morning at 10 a.m.

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