(DICKSON, Tenn.) — A Tennessee sheriff made an emotional appeal for the public’s help in finding a person of interest believed to be connected to the shooting death of a sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop.
“Our hearts shattered with this,” Dickson County Sheriff Joe Bledsoe said at a news conference this afternoon.
The deputy who was killed has been identified as Sgt. Daniel Scott Baker, who started with the department 10 years ago and was also a member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
Bledsoe said that Baker moved up through the ranks and was “one of our best deputies.”
“He’s one of the guys that puts it on the line every day to keep our community safe,” Bledsoe said of Baker, who is survived by a wife and daughter.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released the name and a photo of the person of interest in the case, whom they have identified as Steven Wiggins.
The agency wrote on Twitter that Wiggins is “believed to be armed and dangerous,” and called for the public’s help to find him.
Bledsoe said that Baker came into contact with Wiggins after he responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle.
Acting TBI Director Jason Locke said that when Baker didn’t check in after the call, attempts were made to track him and his vehicle down using GPS.
The vehicle was found in a wooded area, two miles away from the location of the original suspicious vehicle call, Locke said, adding that video from the area confirmed to authorities that Wiggins was the suspect responsible for Baker’s death.
Wiggins has been added to the state’s Top 10 Most Wanted list along with a $7,500 reward for information.
On the Top 10 listing, it states that he is wanted for aggravated assault and theft, while also being a person of interest in the killing of the deputy.
TBI records show that Wiggins is 31 years old and has previously been arrested for multiple cases of assault and domestic assault, as well as cases involving aggravated kidnapping, false imprisonment, leaving the scene of an accident, unlawful possession of a weapon and theft.
Bledsoe said that a member of the deputy’s family has been told of his death, and they are “devastated, just like we are.”
“Even though our hearts [are] broken, we’re driven right now with a focus and resolve that this person is captured,” Bledsoe said.
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