Would-Be Cop-Killer Danny Lipscomb’s Plea And Sentence A Mockery Of Justice For Gadsden Lt. Byram Hammonds
Danny Lipscomb Gets Away With Shooting Cop
Gadsden, AL – Police Officers across the nation are troubled and angry after the light sentence for Danny Lipscomb was handed down on Monday, January 30.
According to The Gadsden Times, more than 30 Officers waited to hear the sentence which resulted from a 2009 incident where Lipscomb repeatedly shot Gadsden Police Lt. Byram Hammonds. The officers were all upset when they discovered that the initial charge of Attempted Murder had been reduced to Attempted First Degree Assault, in exchange for a guilty plea.
The guilty plea resulted in a sentence of 10 years of community corrections, which means no prison.
Lt. Hammonds’ brother Wayne Hammonds, said that the plea sends a clear message, that “we don’t matter.”
Wayne said, “Byram and me, we’re fourth generation (law enforcement officers) and that they understood the dangers of the job. He also said “when we’re attacked, all we have is the court system. When it fails us, who else do we have?”
Lt. Hammonds said that he feels like the law has betrayed him according to WVTM 13. He said that the last word he had from the District Attorney’s Office was that “they would never make a deal with anyone that would try to kill a police officer. So that was really upsetting.”
In the initial incident on December 12, 2009, Danny Lipscomb fled a traffic stop on foot and Lt. Hammonds responded to look for him. He heard a faint noise in thick brushy area near the railroad tracks and moved toward it. Lt. Hammonds said that he was using his flashlight to sweep the area and he heard a loud noise, which he thought was the suspect running away.
Lt. Hammonds said that he was wrong, that the noise was “…Mr. Lipscomb coming right at me.” He said that he was face to face with him, and that he didn’t have his gun out at that point, but that Lipscomb did, a .380 semi-automatic weapon. Lt. Hammonds said. “I looked him in the eye as he looked down the sights of his gun and he kept coming directly at me, firing and looking down the barrel of that gun.”
Lt. Hammonds said that he started moving back and got his gun out, but he was shot at least three times before he was able to return fire. The lieutenant said that he knew he was going to die and that he had to do something to stop the attack. Lt. Hammond shot Danny Lipscomb in the head. Lipscomb was arrested and released the same day.
Marcus Reid, Deputy District Attorney, said that Lipscomb has been tested for competency. He said that one doctor said that Lipscomb was not competent to stand trial, and a second doctor said that he was exaggerating and faking the severity of remaining issues from his injury. Reid said that the state decided to accept a plea in light of this issue. He also said that he has asked for Lipscomb to serve every day of the 10-year community corrections sentence, and that the sentence would hopefully deter similar incidents in the future.
In court on Monday, Lt. Hammonds told Judge Kimberley that “Mr. Lipscomb had a lot of options that night. He could have stayed hidden. I wouldn’t have found him. He could have run, or left his gun behind and come out. Instead of going to jail on a minor charge, he decided to kill a police officer. He chased me and tried to gun me down.”
Lt. Hammonds said that the incident has stayed with him and “there’s hardly a day that I don’t think about it,” He also said that Danny Lipscomb was about 7 inches taller and 100 pounds heavier than him, and that if just wanted to assault him, then he could have used his size. Lt. Hammonds said “If he’d had his way, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Reid acknowledged that the incident had a “crushing effect” on the Officer but added that “we can talk about punishment, that Lipscomb may have impairment because he was shot.” Lipscomb’s attorney said that his client did have options that day and that now he was living with limited options.
The prosecutor replied that he couldn’t see much impairment with Lipscomb, other than he was now living with a metal plate in his head. He pointed out that Lt. Hammonds was also living with a metal plate in his head, that he received from an unrelated medical issue.
Lt. Hammonds’s final comment: “When a police officer is out here risking their life to try to enforce the law and to help other people and we become the victim, all we ask is that the law protect us. And in this case, it didn’t.”
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