BREAKING NEWS : Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission terminates Electric Works development agreement Full Story

Emotional sheriff reads letter from deputy's widow

Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe gets emotional reading a statement from the widow of sheriff's Deputy Sgt. Daniel Baker after Baker was shot and killed while on duty.

Posted: Jun 2, 2018 4:01 PM
Updated: Jun 2, 2018 4:03 PM

The man accused of fatally shooting sheriff's Deputy Sgt. Daniel Baker in Tennessee was given a reminder Friday of the law enforcement veteran and former US Marine.

"Sgt. Baker's handcuffs were immediately taken in our possession, and they are on the suspect at this time and he will be taken to the Dickson County Jail with those," Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said.

Steven Wiggins was captured Friday morning following a two-day manhunt, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Wiggins, who faces the death penalty, was taken to a hospital with injuries consistent with spending days exposed to the elements, authorities said.

A trooper had earlier spotted Wiggins standing on the edge of a road in a neighboring county, Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Col. Dereck Stewart told reporters.

Trooper Kevin Burch, new to the job, noticed that the man's tattoos and appearance matched those of the suspect wanted in the deputy's shooting death, Stewart said. Burch drew his weapon.

"Mr. Wiggins ... was totally obedient to the trooper's order to get on the ground," Stewart said. "This is a good day for us and ... allows us all to be able to focus on the Baker family."

Bledsoe said Baker -- "being the man that he is" -- had volunteered to work an earlier shift when he was killed Wednesday morning in Dickson County, about 40 miles west of Nashville.

The sheriff read a statement from Baker's wife, Lisa, who thanked law enforcement officials and the community for their support.

"I would like to ask our family, friends and community to help our daughter Meredith to always know how wonderful and amazing her father is," Bledsoe, growing emotional, read from the widow's statement. "His service and dedication to his country and community will always be remembered."

The bureau tweeted a photo of the bespectacled and handcuffed Wiggins, his shirt and jeans muddied and torn, in the back of a patrol car two days after authorities say he shot Baker to death following a 911 call reporting a suspicious vehicle.

District Attorney General Ray Crouch said he will seek the death penalty against Wiggins, who faces a charge of first-degree premeditated murder.

The manhunt for the 31-year-old suspect began Wednesday morning along winding, treacherous terrain in rural Middle Tennessee, authorities said.

One day before the deputy's death, Wiggins was charged with aggravated assault, accused of slapping and pulling the hair of a woman he also threatened with a gun, according to a police report.

Erika Castro-Miles, described as an acquaintance of the suspect, told police Wiggins had been "doing meth all night and smoking marijuana" before assaulting her and stealing her car from a motel Tuesday morning in Kingston Springs, Tennessee, the police report said. He eluded arrest.

Castro-Miles, 38, was charged this week with one count of first-degree murder in connection with the deputy's death, according to the bureau. Prosecutors will also seek the death penalty against her.

She told investigators she was seated in the deputy's vehicle with Wiggins and saw the suspect shoot Baker, 32, according to a criminal court affidavit. The woman fled and hid under a house before she was arrested.

Baker, a 10-year law enforcement veteran, had responded to a resident's call about a suspicious vehicle about 7 a.m. Wednesday, said Susan Niland, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee bureau.

After a period of not being able to contact the deputy, authorities tracked down Baker's vehicle with GPS in a wooded area about 2 miles from the location of the initial call by an officer from another agency. Baker was found dead in his vehicle.

Baker joined the sheriff's office full time in 2008 and became a member of the special operations unit in 2013, according to the sheriff.

A reward for information leading to Wiggins' capture grew to $46,000 after contributions from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, federal law enforcement agencies and police associations from various cities.

"If the trooper was eligible, I think he would do the right thing and give it to Baker's family," Stewart said of the reward and the highway patrolman who made the arrest.

Bledsoe said he saw video from the shooting scene Thursday that left him "even more heartbroken" about what Baker endured.

"When you're able to witness that from our video, it's more disturbing," he said, without elaborating.

A friend of Baker's set up a GoFundMe page for the family of the slain deputy, who had recently purchased a home.

"He is one of the most courageous, loving, and (hardworking men) I know and he would be the first to volunteer or help someone out," wrote the friend, Blaine Marlin.

Baker once helped rescue a woman trapped underwater in a vehicle and, more recently, joined in the capture a gunman at a shooting outside a theater, according to Bledsoe.

Baker's funeral will be held on Tuesday at First Baptist Church in his native Dickson. He will be buried at Dickson County Memorial Gardens.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Dickson County, Tennessee.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 68433

Reported Deaths: 2980
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion14863719
Lake7101271
Elkhart459777
Allen3635158
St. Joseph315479
Hamilton2513104
Cass17519
Hendricks1750105
Vanderburgh172612
Johnson1652118
Porter119539
Tippecanoe110311
Clark108145
Madison84765
LaPorte83829
Kosciusko81912
Howard81065
Bartholomew74347
Marshall74222
Floyd69444
Monroe68630
Delaware63852
Noble63728
Boone63546
Dubois62612
Hancock62337
Jackson5524
LaGrange54210
Warrick51630
Shelby51126
Grant49629
Vigo47410
Dearborn46528
Morgan42532
Henry36118
Clinton3573
White34710
Montgomery34321
Lawrence32827
Wayne3179
Decatur31432
Harrison29422
Miami2582
Scott25010
Daviess24619
Greene23934
Franklin22410
DeKalb2224
Putnam2228
Jennings21012
Jasper2082
Gibson2004
Steuben2003
Ripley1887
Perry17212
Starke1657
Orange16424
Wabash1613
Posey1580
Fayette1557
Jefferson1492
Whitley1486
Fulton1462
Carroll1452
Wells1342
Knox1310
Huntington1183
Washington1161
Spencer1143
Newton11010
Tipton1075
Randolph1034
Clay975
Jay820
Adams812
Rush794
Owen781
Sullivan761
Pulaski721
Brown701
Fountain632
Benton600
Blackford532
Ohio514
Pike460
Parke451
Switzerland430
Crawford420
Martin420
Vermillion380
Union320
Warren191
Unassigned0200

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 93963

Reported Deaths: 3539
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin17254514
Cuyahoga12753477
Hamilton9160248
Lucas4944318
Montgomery405778
Summit3294217
Marion288444
Butler271459
Mahoning2411253
Pickaway235742
Stark1690132
Lorain163476
Warren163435
Columbiana158260
Trumbull1433103
Fairfield125425
Delaware120618
Licking112543
Clark108613
Lake104336
Wood92458
Clermont85511
Medina83533
Miami76937
Tuscarawas74713
Portage71760
Allen65442
Greene62611
Belmont58926
Richland54012
Ashtabula53945
Mercer53513
Geauga53143
Erie52427
Wayne49958
Ross4014
Huron3764
Ottawa35925
Athens3451
Madison33310
Sandusky33217
Holmes3226
Darke32127
Hancock3202
Auglaize2225
Lawrence2200
Union2161
Jefferson2063
Washington19722
Putnam19217
Scioto1881
Coshocton1866
Muskingum1811
Knox1692
Crawford1685
Preble1662
Seneca1613
Shelby1604
Morrow1582
Hardin15012
Clinton1486
Fulton1401
Champaign1381
Ashland1333
Highland1321
Defiance1294
Williams1243
Logan1231
Wyandot1207
Brown1121
Guernsey1117
Hocking1119
Carroll1085
Henry1061
Perry1062
Fayette970
Monroe9118
Van Wert691
Jackson670
Pike660
Paulding610
Gallia581
Adams532
Vinton302
Meigs250
Harrison201
Morgan200
Noble170
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 63°
Angola
Overcast
59° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 59°
Huntington
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 63°
Decatur
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 64°
Cooler Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events