JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A corrections officer who was supposed to be one of the star fighters in the upcoming Guns N’ Hoses Charity Boxing Tournament is in the fight for his life after suffering a heart attack Monday.
Orange County Corrections Sgt. Jerry Haddock, 40, was on life support at UF Health Jacksonville Tuesday after he collapsed following a training session for the 20th annual Guns N' Hoses event, which features officers fighting against firefighters. It's scheduled for April 21.
Haddock, one of the stars for the annual charity boxing match, was in critical condition at last check. His wife and three teenage daughters traveled to the hospital to be by his side, praying he recovers.
His wife said he had gotten a clean bill of health during a recent checkup, but he collapsed in a split second.
Haddock, who's from Orlando, was in Jacksonville Monday to train at the Guns N' Hoses gym on Jacksonville's Eastside. He had just finished his workout when he collapsed near his car. Two trainers performed CPR until paramedics rushed him to the hospital.
Retired Detective Carl Graham told News4Jax that he had just finished training his friend, Haddock.
"I rushed back. We attempted CPR, myself and another officer, while we are waiting for rescue to arrive," said Graham, who's the lead boxing trainer for the event's police team. "I can't say enough about him. I mean, we love him to pieces really."
Graham knows the scenario all too well. In 2015, he was training at the same gym when he too had a heart attack. Fortunately, he’s fully recovered.
"I think anybody that has been CPR trained, you got to cut through the emotions at the time," Graham said, adding that he hopes what he did made a difference.
Paramedics rushed Haddock to UF Health, where he remained unresponsive at last check.
"I mean, this is our worst nightmare. Something happening to one of our fighters," said David Stevens, founder and promoter of Guns N' Hoses. "We try to take every safety precaution possible. And our hearts are just broken right now, and praying for Jerry and his family."
Stevens, as well as members of Guns N' Hoses and the local Fraternal Order of Police, have gone to the hospital to visit Haddock's wife and daughters. Police union members are helping take care of his family members, giving them food and a hotel room.
"We loved having him as pasty of the event. He came all the way from Orlando and it showed you his commitment. Not only did he love to box, he knew what it was for. He did this on his own time, came up here and trained, used his own gas money and everything else," Stevens said. "He's a fighter. He seriously is a fighter."
Haddock's fight is now outside the ring. He has a lot of people rooting him on.
"Some strong prayers and community support is what we could ask for," Graham said.
Graham reminded people the importance of knowing CPR, saying everyone needs to be prepared because you never know when someone can suffer a heart attack. He said there were no signs before Haddock collapsed and it was just a "normal day at the gym."