Daniel Baker, the Tennessee sheriff’s sergeant who was slain in his squad car, was a former Marine who was repeatedly recognized for his heroism, once detaining a gunman who fired a weapon in the parking lot outside a local play.
On Facebook, Baker’s profile picture once read, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9.” Convicted felon Steven Wiggins was named as the person of interest in the shooting and has now been captured. The 32-year-old Dickson County deputy was responding to a suspicious vehicle call when he was murdered on May 30, 2018.
“RIP Daniel Baker, you were a police officer, a Marine, a son, a father and a husband!! You are a TRUE HERO!” wrote one woman on Facebook, speaking for many. There is a GoFundMe page to help Baker’s family.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Baker Was Previously in the News for Rescuing a Woman & Detaining a Gunman
Baker had been on the Dickson County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Department for 10 years, and in that time he had already made headlines for heroic actions. According to the Tennessean, he once “chased and caught a drunken man who fired a gun in the parking lot of a Mary Poppins play at the Dickson Renaissance Center.”
He was working security and heard the gunshots, chasing and catching the suspect, the newspaper recounted.
Five years before, Baker “helped rescue a woman who was trapped in a truck that overturned in a creek,” reported The Tennessean, which reported that Baker and another deputy waded into water up to their waists to save the woman.
“You’ll be forever missed by so many brother! RIP Daniel Baker you were a great man friend father husband son and brother! Love ya brother!!” a friend wrote on Facebook.
The GoFundMe page set up to help his family reads in part, “One of my good friends Sgt. Daniel Baker lost his life too soon early this morning on May 30th, 2018. Sgt. Baker was responding to a call of a suspicious vehicle, dispatch then lost contact with him causing them to send backup. When they arrived, sadly and with heavy hearts, Sgt. Baker was found shot to death. Sgt. Baker left behind his wife, beautiful daughter, family, and many friends. They had recently just purchase a new home and Daniel was clearing the property and getting ready to build a garage. No amount of money will help ease the pain for family and friends but I would like to start a fund to help his wife with any and all expenses that might arrive now or in the future for their sweet baby girl,continue to build the garage that he wants for his wife, and help with the mortgage of the new home.”
2. Baker Was Married & Grew Up in Tennessee, Where He Loved Hunting & Fishing
On Facebook, Sgt. Baker said he was a “Sergeant at Dickson County Sheriff’s Office” who went to Columbia Central High School. He wrote that he lives in McEwen, Tennessee, was married, and was from Columbia, Tennessee. In 2014, he wrote, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world!! My wife is amazing in every way!” They were married that year, according to posts on Facebook, and his wife has worked as a dental hygienist.
This was his cover photo on Facebook:
His profile picture on Facebook shows his young daughter feeding horses. Photos show him with his wife, hunting, and fishing. He uploaded a graphic that included the American flag and said, “I Stand.” In 2015, he wrote, “Guys the 2015 Jakes Night out is fast approaching. It will be March 20 at 700 pm at the dickson fair grounds. Please help spread the word and lets make this year even better then last. This is an awesome opportunity for kids to get involved with turkey hunting and the great outdoors.”
3. Baker Served in the U.S. Marine Corps
A photo that Daniel Baker uploaded on Facebook indicated he had served in the U.S. Marine Corps. A woman wrote under that photo, “Very proud of you son and thankful for your service to our Country! Love you Daniel!” Another woman wrote under the picture, “You look so young!! Thank you for all your service to our country!”
“Semper Fi brother!” wrote several people in response to news of Baker’s death.
Another photo also showed him in military fatigues. In 2015, he shared a photo of a police badge from another jurisdiction with a black ribbon through it and wrote, “RIP brother.”
4. Baker Was Shot After Responding to a Suspicious Vehicle Call
Authorities have given some details of the shooting in a press conference. Susan Niland, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said that the initial call came in on the early morning of May 30, 2018 for a suspicious vehicle. Baker responded.
The sheriff’s department was not able to make contact with Baker after that point so authorities tracked him down using the GPS function in his vehicle. He was found a few miles from the suspicious vehicle call and was dead inside his vehicle, according to Niland.
Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said at a press conference, “We just ask for your help in getting the photo and information out so that we can hold this person responsible and fully accountable. And it is my prayer to God that our court will be a terror to him on the punishment he receives.”
Erika Castro-Miles is accused of participating in the murder. “Agents charged Castro-Miles, detained in the early stages of the investigation, with one count of First Degree Murder,” TBI reported. There was allegedly a domestic incident before the murder, and Wiggins is accused of also doing meth. A victim claims Wiggins “slapped her face and pulled her hair…had a gun to her head” and threatened to kill her, UK Daily Mail reported.
5. Tributes Flowed in for Sgt. Baker, Who Was Remembered as a Man ‘Protecting His Community’
Social media flooded with tributes to Baker. Karl Dean, a candidate for Tennessee governor, wrote, “Our hearts are breaking for Dickson County and the @dicksoncountyso today. Sgt. Daniel Baker was not only protecting his community but also a former Marine. He served his country with the ultimate sacrifice and we are forever grateful.”
A heartbroken friend wrote, “I lost one of my best friends today, in the line of duty… I love you Daniel Baker… well take it from here. Please keep his wife and young daughter in your prayers… they need it more than you will ever know.”
The sheriff called Baker one of the best.