Danby, N.Y. — David Cady spent much of the 61-hour standoff in his Danby home perched at the top of a narrow staircase on the second floor.

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Cady was positioned atop the staircase with at least two guns. He had access to six guns in total, as well as a “clear line of sight at whoever approached” in what formed a clear “fatal funnel” for anyone trying to take the house from him by force.

This revelation was one of many detailed in an “After Action Report” submitted to lawmakers by the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office and released to members of the media today.

An image taken from the report.

Cady, 37, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after the days-long stand-off, which began on Dec. 30 when Cady refused to be arrested on a DWI warrant.

Sheriff Ken Lansing is speaking to the Tompkins County Legislature’s Public Safety Committee along with the undersheriff and Ithaca police involved in the controversial stand-off.

Community members and Cady’s widow strongly condemned the sheriff, saying the law enforcement response was wildly disproportionate to Cady’s offense.

The sheriff’s office, however, has defended his handling of the situation. Today’s report grapples with those criticisms, reflects on how the sheriff’s office can improve and proves an exhaustively detailed account of the events culminating in Cady’s death.

“I hope this presentation will answer a lot of the questions from the community,” Lansing said.

(You can read the report in full at the bottom of this story.)

5 other revelations from today’s “After Action Report,” which was authored by the sheriff’s office:

1 — Some officers wanted to engage Cady; sheriff resisted

Sheriff Lansing resisted the suggestions of some officers that law enforcement directly engage Cady, according to the sheriff’s report. This is a new revelation.

“Sheriff Lansing resisted the suggestions, choosing instead to wait while also preparing the house for the best possible tactical advantage for the officers that would be assigned to enter the house,” the report says.

2 — Cady’s last words to the cops

“I am armed up, Come get me.”

Those are the last words Cady said to the local law enforcement negotiating team, according to the report.

Cady’s apparent goading of police represented the ultimate deterioration of their efforts to peacefully resolve the standoff, according to the sheriff’s report.

“Negotiations conducted by trained personnel seemed promising, but ultimately failed when Mr. Cady stopped responding to calls early into the first day of the standoff,” the report says.

3 — Total cost: Over $25,000

The fatal standoff cost over $25,000, according to the report.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

— $13,444: Payroll costs

— $8,579: Munitions for IPD Swat

— $2,446: Munitions for other law enforcement

— $1,908: Food, drink and supplies

— $345: Hotel rooms for Pennsylvania state police

4 — Where report finds sheriff’s office could have done better

Here are four things law enforcement could have done better, according to the report:

A — Help for Cady’s family

“Additional assistance to the Cady family might have been available more quickly if the County’s human services departments had been immediately engaged.

B — Sheriff could have arrived earlier

“The Sheriff should have been directly involved in the incident command earlier in the process. The Sheriff was notified of the event by cell phone voicemail relatively soon after it began.

“However, that message was not received until hours later and no further efforts were made to ensure the Sheriff was made aware of the situation. He arrived on the scene at approximately 6 a.m. on December 31.”

C — Better communication with media

“Press briefings and community information sessions could have been held there and, given the new critical incident response plans, will likely be done through the County Administrators office.”

5 — Wife accused of giving incorrect information to police

In one of the uglier sections of the report, the sheriff’s office accuses Cady’s wife of providing inaccurate information to law enforcement about his whereabouts.

Police had been looking for Cady at least since the summer of 2014 on violating the DWI warrant.

When they checked at his home, the wife told policed that Cady was “at work at Wilcox Tire in Ithaca. When checked,the employer stated that Mr. Cady had not worked there for months.”

The wife is again said to have given incorrect information to police a little later.

“A month later, Ms. Cady told law enforcement officers that Mr. Cady had moved to Oklahoma and that she had not had contact with him for months. However, sources advised law enforcement that Mr. Cady was continuing to live at the Hornbrook Road address.”

Hornbrook Report Final 3.12.15


Full Ithaca Voice coverage of Danby stand-off


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.