J.G. is a 21-year-old woman who lives on Burgundy Place in Palm Coast. At 9 a.m. Thursday morning she was walking on Barrister Lane in her neighborhood with her boyfriend, who was walking ahead of her, when a Eric Philip Galdabini, a 56-year-old resident of Birchwood Drive, drove by her twice. Each time, she said, he attempted to pick her up.
Galdabini would circle around and return with his Jeep and try again. J.G. told her boyfriend, who, at Galdabini’s next pass, told Galdabini to keep moving. Instead, and according to a Ring surveillance video collected by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Galdabini parked the Jeep at some distance from the couple then sprinted toward the man. (See the video below.)
The video shows Galdabini resolutely running toward the couple, then taking a fighting stance as he hopped on his feet, facing the boyfriend. The two scuffled in the front yard of a property before the boyfriend took down Galdabini and briefly, it appears from the video, put him in a chokehold. The boyfriend later told sheriff’s deputies that Galbadini had attempted to strike at his face with a closed fist before the boyfriend struck him twice. Then Galdabini attempted to cut him with a knife and did in fact stab him.
“The wounds he inflicted on the victim were not life-threatening and the victim was treated on-scene by Flagler County Fire-Rescue,” a sheriff’s release stated. The victim is Black. His girlfriend is white. There are no overt indications that the attack was racially motivated.
The video shows Galdabini get up as the boyfriend runs off toward a driveway across the street, where another man had joined the girlfriend. Galdabini walked past all three, going toward his Jeep, knife in hand. The Ring video ends at that point.
Sheriff’s deputies located Galdabini’s black Jeep at the intersection of Belle Terre Parkway and Pine Lakes Parkway, where they initiated a high-risk traffic stop and put Galdabini in handcuffs.
Galdabini told deputies he was just trying to be helpful. “I was driving by, I see this girl walking, I say, hey, you need a ride, she said something stupid,” he told deputies. He claims the boyfriend then jumped him and beat him up. “I couldn’t get him off me.” He described the knife as a “pocket knife” he uses for fishing. He said he didn’t know either individual, but that he offers rides to people in the neighborhood whenever he’s headed to the store. He claimed he had parked his car and only “walked up” to the couple.
“I’m a good guy, I work every day, man,” he told the deputy as he was being placed in a patrol car. “I don’t want a problem with these people.”
Galdabini was arrested on a second degree felony charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and a third degree felony charge of battery. He is being held at the Flagler County jail on $40,000 bond. (In 2010 Galdabini pleaded to a misdemeanor battery count in Volusia County, serving 14 days in jail to fulfill that sentence.)
“Typically, when we receive a call of this nature, the victim is an acquaintance or knows their attacker in some way. In this case, the attack was completely random,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “Fortunately, the victim didn’t suffer serious injuries.”