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UPDATE: Deputy recognized for helping wounded officer to safety

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Surrounded by various members of the community, Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Gadd was honored with the "Respect for Law Officer of the Year" award. 

The award stems from Gadd's bravery on July 16th, 2015 as he, along with other city police, helped carry Chattanooga Police Officer Dennis Pedigo away from the firefight at the Naval and Marine Reserve Center. 

"I remember thinking, you can't fall. You have to get him to the road," Gadd remembered. 

It took physical strength to carry his fellow brother in blue but Gadd said it was the toughness of the officer leaning on him that kept him going.

"He was the strongest man that could be imagined after being shot and all he kept saying is, 'Man, that hurts,'" he added. 

It's those actions that caught the attention of the Scenic Chattanooga Optimist Club, a group that strives to recognize those who make a positive impact in the community. 

While Gadd said the recognition is humbling, he doesn't feel like it's deserved. 

"I just feel like that day we were doing our jobs. We were doing that day what we were sworn to do and that was to protect each other and protect the citizens of the community," he added. 

For Gadd, and others who answered the call, the community's response has been overwhelming from the day of the attacks to the funerals for the fallen five. 

"To see the out pour of love from the community and all of the American flags and all of the support, that really struck me," he said, "I remember looking over at the motorcycle beside me and he was tearing up and so was I. I'm  not going to say I wasn't."

Tears of appreciation and respect that are shared by the community he serves. 

The Chattanooga police officers who also helped carry Pedigo to safety will also be recognized in a separate ceremony next week. 

Channel 3 reached out to Pedigo and his family who say they will forever be grateful for those that helped him that day. 


It's hard for Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Gadd to forget the scene off Amnicola Highway. 

"They started yelling on the radio, 'Officer down, officer down, officer down,'" he remembered.

The day started out like any other. As an investigator for the county's traffic division, Gadd was on his motorcycle working a funeral procession with other deputies and city police officers when the call came over the radio. 

READ MORE | UPDATE: Police officer injured in Thursday's shooting, recovering 

"I remember him saying, 'Heads up, there's an active shooter on the Riverfront,'" he said, "That's when Dennis passed me. Dennis was on his motor, he passed me and he looked at me and said, 'Hey, did you hear that?' And I said yeah and he took off."

Moments later, Gadd would arrive at the Naval and Marine Reserve Center. He still remembers hearing the gunfire.

"I knew I didn't have anything but my sidearm, being on the motorcycle. I tell people that's when I felt the most vulnerable because I didn't have my tools, I didn't have my car, I didn't have my stuff that I usually carry," he added. 

As Gadd and other officers moved closer, he remembers realizing the officer who had been shot was one he was riding beside minutes prior. 

"It's one of those things motor cops, I guess, notice about each other and then I looked up and I obviously knew as soon as I saw the boots, it was Dennis," he said. He, along with other Chattanooga Police officers, helped move Pedigo, who was shot in the leg, away from the gunfire.

"I remember him grabbing my gun belt and it kind of sagging me down and I remember thinking, you can't fall. You have to get him to the road," he added. 

Pedigo was rushed by ambulance to Erlanger where was taken into emergency surgery. 

Gadd would later show up at the hospital to work his scheduled security shift because, despite the chaos that day, he was determined not to let the shooter win. 

"That's when it kind of hit me, through the point of, I'm not going to let this guy change my life, as far as how I live and how I go about my daily business," he said. 

Gadd will be recognized Friday with the "Respect for Law Officer of the Year Award" by the Scenic Chattanooga Optimist Club at the Chattanoogan Hotel for his actions that day. 

The Chattanooga police officers who also helped carry Pedigo to safety will also be recognized in a separate ceremony next week. 

Channel 3 reached out to Pedigo and his family who say they will forever be grateful for those that helped him that day. 

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