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Just over a week after a Dickson County sergeant was killed in the line-of-duty, an affidavit is shedding light on his tragic shooting death.
Sgt. Daniel Baker responded to a suspicious vehicle call on May 30 at the intersection of Sam Vineyard and Tidwell Search roads.
Upon his arrival, Sgt. Baker discovered a brown Saturn parked in the roadway and in the wrong direction. Upon approaching the car, Steven Wiggins told Baker that he had a flat tire and that help was on the way.
According to the affidavit, Wiggins had been stopped at the intersection for about four hours.
Sgt. Baker quickly determined the vehicle was stolen and ordered Wiggins and his passenger, Erika Castro-Miles, out of the car.
Wiggins, according to the complaint, claimed his door would not open before Baker ordered him out of the passenger’s side.
According to the body cam recovered from Sgt. Baker, he then walked around the rear of the car to the passenger side, at which time Wiggins initially fired approximately five rounds from a .45 pistol.
Baker was struck by at least one of those rounds and his body cam shows he tried to take cover before he collapsed several yards away.
According to the complaint, while Sgt. Baker was lying wounded on the grounds, Wiggins fired five more rounds, with the last three appearing to have been fired at close range.
An autopsy revealed Baker suffered six gunshot wounds – two to his torso, one to his hand and three to the side of his head.
After the shooting, the complaint also alleges Wiggins moved Baker’s patrol car before dragging the shot sergeant over to it.
Wiggins then put Baker’s body in the back seat and drove the patrol car a few miles away near the intersection of Bear Creek Valley and Byrd road. There, Wiggins is alleged to have set a fire inside the patrol car and left the scene.
The complaint further alleges that at the time Wiggins was captured by the Tennessee Highway Patrol on June 1, his backpack contained a .45 caliber pistol and a Glock pistol.
A subsequent investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the ATF determined that shell casings found at the scene where Sgt. Baker was shot matched the .45 caliber weapon and that the Glock recovered from Wiggins’ backpack had been previously purchased by Baker’s wife.
Once in custody, Wiggins initially said he tried to perform CPR on Sgt. Baker. Body cam footage does not show that.
Wiggins also reportedly said he fired the additional shots because he “didn’t want the man [Baker] to suffer. He said he shot Sgt. Baker in the head multiple times “like a dog, you know, man, it’s suffering. You make sure.”
“Our hearts shattered with this. This is one of our best deputies. He’s a supervisor. He’s worked his way up to sergeant on patrol, and he’s one of the ones who put it all on the line every day to keep our community safe,” Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said.
On Friday, it was announced Wiggins will face federal and state charges related to Sgt. Baker’s death.
“Obviously, there is nothing we can do bring Sgt. Baker back and nothing we can say to alleviate the pain and suffering of his family and this community. we can however as prosecutors make sure that those, that justice is served,” U.S. Attorney Don Cochran said.
“I look forward to seeking justice on behalf of his family and this community. I am grateful for the support of the United States Attorney and will work with all of our partners at every level until justice is achieved,” District Attorney General Ray Crouch said.
Bledsoe said, “It is my prayer to God that our court will be a terror to him on the punishment he receives.”
Public defender Jack Locket has been assigned to the case.
“It’s always a challenging case when someone is charged with killing an officer. Aside from representing him, it is my prayer that God will bring comfort to the family and friends and I will do my job to represent Mr. Wiggins to the best of my ability and make sure that his rights are protected,” Locket said.