INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The suspect accused in the shooting death of IMPD Officer Rod Bradway was released from prison just three months ago. His criminal history includes some signs that he had trouble with authority.
Steven Byrdo, 24, has prior convictions that include possession of and dealing cocaine, according to the Indiana Department of Corrections. He was sent back to prison in January for violating the terms of his probation, but was released on parole early - just three months ago.
Byrdo was killed Friday morning in an exchange of gunfire with Bradway and another IMPD officer.
It wasn’t the first time his life had taken a dangerous turn.
A TROUBLED PAST
In a city now carrying a heavy heart lived a man with a troubled past.
Byrdo had already served two stints in prison by the time he pulled the trigger inside an apartment on Eagle Pointe North Drive Friday morning.
But, that wasn't Byrdo's home. It belonged to the woman and her infant son Byrdo held hostage at gunpoint late last night. I-Team 8 is not identifying the woman.
Byrdo lived in a home with his parents on the near west side. Family members, including Bydro’s mother, gathered there Friday afternoon, but wouldn't speak with I-Team 8 on camera.
But, neighbors said the normally quiet block is now a bit on edge.
"I'm very surprised. I've never had any problems here. It's always been pretty quiet,” said Stephanie Hasbrouck, who lives nearby.
Byrdo's trouble with the law began with a simple traffic violation in 2006, just months after his 16th birthday.
According to BMV records, he failed to pay that ticket and his license was suspended. That cycle of late payment, license suspension and reinstatement occurred at least 18 times during the last seven years. Three years ago, Byrdo was arrested for driving on a suspended license.
His driving privileges have been indefinitely suspended ever since.
A HISTORY IN HANDCUFFS
Byrdo stayed out of handcuffs until the age of 20 in 2009, when he was arrested for possession of alcohol by a minor, public intoxication and disorderly conduct at a Denny's restaurant on Kentucky Avenue. According to police reports, Byrdo was standing on a chair when officers arrived, yelling profanities.
Police said he threw a steak knife at a crowd across the room. Charges were later dropped.
In 2010, police stopped a car Byrdo was a passenger in and found a bag of crack cocaine in his pocket and an unregistered handgun in the car. Gun-related charges were dropped under a plea agreement that included a two-year prison sentence.
Under Indiana’s good behavior credit system, Byrdo was released after one year and placed into a community transition program. In November of 2011, Byrdo was released to Marion County Community Corrections.
Just a month later, Byrdo was arrested again, this time on marijuana charges. He plead guilty, but was sentenced to time served and was not returned to prison.
A judge ruled that a second arrest on marijuana possession and distribution charges in 2012 violated his probation. He was sentenced to serve 16 months in prison.
But, with time served and good behavior credit, he was released on parole on June 18, 2013.
“MAKE IT TO 25”
Byrdo's criminal record shows no convictions for any violent crimes. I-Team 8 found no record of any restraining orders taken out against him.
An IDOC spokesperson said Byrdo checked in with his parole officer as required in late August. Their next visit at his home was scheduled for Sept. 27.
One family member who asked not to be identified told I-Team 8 that Byrdo was committed to turning his life around, and didn’t want to go back to prison. IDOC confirmed he was both employed and enrolled in classes at Martin University.
But, another family member appears less convinced by Byrdo’s recent promise of reform.
"My brother once said I just wanna make it to see 25,” his brother Nick Byrdo tweeted Friday afternoon.
Then, one minute later, another tweet: “you was so close."
Questions still remain over why Byrdo was in the apartment early Friday morning. There appear to be no legal or criminal records connecting him with the woman who lived there.
I-Team 8 is also still working to find out where the gun used to shoot Officer Bradway came from and how Byrdo got it. Because he was a convicted felon, couldn't legally buy it.
The answer to that question could be critical. If the gun was illegally sold, additional charges could be filed in the case.
Hoosiers are being hit with the coldest weather statewide in about three years, and officials are warning drivers about black ice.
A man was taken to a local hospital Wednesday night after being shot on the city's east side.
The Indianapolis Zoo hosted its annual "Christmas at the Zoo" fundraiser Wednesday, but the festivities became a secondary celebration for one special family.