NASHVILLE, Tennessee. – A Tennessee sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot during a traffic stop early Wednesday and police were offering a $12,500 reward to help them find the suspect, a man charged the day before with beating a woman and stealing her car.
Authorities the suspect as Steven Joshua Wiggins, 31, a white male with balding brown hair, who they believe is armed and dangerous. The state, federal and local governments have a manhunt of the area Wednesday in the area where the Dickson County sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Baker was shot and killed.
The deputy responded to a call about a suspicious car on Wednesday, could not be contacted for some time, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Susan Niland said at a news conference. The deputy the car was tracked through GPS to a location 2 or 3 miles (3 to 5 km away, and the deputy was found dead on the inside.
“He has the option to do the right thing,” Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said of Wiggins at a press conference Wednesday. “People make mistakes and people do things that are terrible, and this is a bad deed he has done. But now he can show that there’s still something left in him by turning himself in.”
Bledsoe also said Wiggins should be held accountable, and said that he wants the maximum punishment that the law allows.
The sheriff said Baker, was one of the department is the best, a supervisor who had worked his way up to sergeant on patrol during his 10-year period with the office. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
Bledsoe said that his office has lost a brother, and the community has lost a hero.
“Our heart is broken with this,” he said.
Wiggins was identified as the suspect from video footage, Niland said.
He is already wanted on charges that he was a woman (assaulted and stole her car when he was pulled over Wednesday, according to a report from the Kingston Springs Police Department.
The woman, Ericka Km-Castro, was arrested and charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in connection with Baker’s death.
The report said Km-Castro told police early Tuesday that Wiggins had hit her in the face and pulled some of her hair, and put a gun to her head and threatened to kill her if she called the police. She said he then grabbed her keys and took her car without her permission.
At the time of the report, Km-Castro, 38, told police Wiggins was “doing meth all night and smoking marijuana.” They told the police they plan to report the incident, the report said.
The TBI said in a news release Wednesday that in the course of the investigation, authorities developed that they “participated in the incident.”
She is locked in the Dickson County Jail. It is not immediately known whether she has an attorney.