Man who charged officer with knife gets 20 years

The incident occurred as officer was responding to domestic violence report.


Isaac L. Gaddy Jr., 36, was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison for a July 2008 attack on a member of the Gainesville Police Department’s SWAT team.

Karen Voyles/Staff
Published: Friday, January 22, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 22, 2010 at 12:14 a.m.

A Gainesville man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday for a 2008 attack on a police officer who was responding to a domestic violence report.

Isaac L. Gaddy Jr., 36, was convicted in December of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault and criminal mischief after he charged Gainesville Police Officer Nick Byrd with a knife.

Gaddy was using the knife to unhinge a bathroom door where a woman and her baby were barricaded, police said.

In the incident, which took place in July 2008, Byrd shot Gaddy twice after ordering him to put the weapon down.

A shooting inquiry conducted by Gainesville police determined that Byrd "took appropriate actions," according to police spokesman Capt. Ed Book.

"His actions in this case were extremely heroic, (and) likely saved the woman's life."

Gaddy recovered from the gunshots and, despite the two bullets remaining inside him, was able to walk into court unassisted and remain standing beside a podium throughout the nearly 90-minute sentencing hearing.

Seated in the courtroom during the sentencing were Byrd and a couple dozen police officers, some in uniform.

When Circuit Court Judges James Nilon announced Gaddy's 20-year sentence, several of the officers could be heard uttering a whispered "yes" and some appeared to be wiping tears from their eyes.

Afterward, one of the officers, who asked not to be identified, told The Sun that Byrd was a SWAT team member and "one of only five or six guys" in the department who could have accurately fired to end the incident without injuring the woman or baby.

According to Assistant State Attorney Frank Slavichak, the incident took place inside the home at 2626 E. University Ave., where Gaddy had been living with the woman and their son.

Officer Byrd arrived at the home as the woman was screaming from the bathroom, where she had barricaded herself with the baby.

In his report, Byrd said Gaddy refused to put the weapon down when Byrd ordered him to do so, and Byrd fired at the man, hitting him twice in the torso.

Gaddy reportedly continued to struggle with officers as they tried to handcuff him.

Ironically, the woman was in court Thursday asking Nilon for lenience on Gaddy's behalf.

"It did not happen the way they said it happened," the woman said while crying at the podium. "Mr. Gaddy was not violent. They are exaggerating. This was a mistake."

Slavichak reminded Nilon of an eight-minute phone call the woman made in which she is heard "screaming for her life while she was inside the bathroom waiting for help."

Under the terms of the sentence, Gaddy — who had an extensive criminal record prior to the incident, including a federal prison sentence in a drug case — will be required to serve all of the first 15 years before being eligible for gain time during the final five years.

Contact Karen Voyles at 359-5656 or voylesk@gvillesun.com.

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