Boone County, IN – Boone County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) Deputy Jacob Pickett, 34, was fatally shot as he pursued a suspect on foot on Friday, police said.
He was removed from life support late Sunday night, so that his organs could be donated to others, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
“Today, the Thin Blue Line was shattered,” Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said during a Saturday afternoon press conference, according to the Indy Star.
The tragic incident began at approximately 9:30 a.m., when Lebanon Police Department (LPD) officers spotted 28-year-old John Baldwin Jr., who had an active probation violation warrant for being in possession of a syringe.
The officers commanded Baldwin Jr. to stop, but he and two other men jumped into a silver Ford Focus, and fled the scene.
Lebanon PD pursued the suspect, and were soon joined by Deputy Pickett.
Roughly 10 minutes later, the car came to a halt, and two of the occupants clamored out of the vehicle, and began running away from the scene.
Deputy Pickett gave chase, and was shot in the head as he came around the corner of a building, Indiana State Police (ISP) told the Indy Star.
Investigators said that the gunman, 21-year-old Anthony Baumgardt, was shot and injured by another officer.
Baumgardt, who also had an active warrant for felony theft at the time of the incident, later told the press that he shot Deputy Pickett because he didn’t want to return to get bit by Deputy Pickett's dog and that he had no remorse, the Indy Star reported.
“I shot a cop,” Baumgardt said. “They were going to take me to jail.”
He has been charged with felony murder, two felony counts of possession of methamphetamine, felony carrying a handgun without a license, misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license, two misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana, and misdemeanor resisting law enforcement.
John Baldwin Sr., 55, the second suspect who fled from officers on foot, “gave himself up” to officers, ISP confirmed, according to WXIN.
After his accomplices bailed out of his vehicle, Baldwin Jr. fled the area, and the pursuit resumed. Officers were eventually able to stop him on I-65, and he was taken into custody.
“I am angry. I am so angry,” Sheriff Nielsen told the Indy Star, regarding the murder of Deputy Pickett. “I am sad, I am heartbroken, and I am devastated.”
Deputy Pickett, a three-year veteran of the BCSO, was the leader of the department’s K9 team, and served alongside his K9 partner, Brik, for two years, the Indy Star reported. He also served as a deputy in Tipton County, and as a jailer in Marion County, prior to joining Boone County.
His body was escorted from St. Vincent Hospital to the Marion County Coroner’s office on Monday, according to the Indy Star.
Deputy Pickett is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and his two young sons.
“Jake,” Sheriff Nielsen said to his department’s fallen hero, “you paid the ultimate sacrifice, and we will never forget your courage, your dedication, your commitment and your warrior spirit.”
The deputy will be laid to rest on Friday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Pickett, both blood and blue. Godspeed, we will take the watch from here. Thank you for your service.
Deputy Jacob Pickett, your life mattered.