INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 21, 2016) -- The family of Deputy Carl Koontz unfortunately joins a long list of loved ones who mourn the loss of fallen Hoosier officers.
"These first few months there’s just ... shock. It’s literally shock," father Jerry Baker said.
Baker, whose son Jason Baker was killed in 2001, still lives with the grief 15 years later. He has dedicated his life to honoring his son, though, including through the Heroes of Public Safety memorial that he helped establish at Crown Hill Cemetery.
"Many of us whose names are here in this beautiful place have walked that path before and we’re going to be there with them," Baker said.
For Baker the loss is even more personal, since Koontz was a Deputy like his son. Baker is a retired officer and Koontz also took his class at the Academy while he was a recruit.
"He and Jason had about the same years of service, they both started out in jobs with the Sheriff’s Department before they got their ideal jobs. ... From everything I’ve heard (he was) an aggressive, well-trained, well thought of officer just like my son," Baker said.
Another family that offered support is the Laird family. Debbie and Mike Laird lost their son Jake in 2004 and know the pain the Koontz family is surely feeling.
"We just ache, just a deep ache inside for what they’re going through," Debbie Laird said.
That's why the Lairds said that what the community does and will continue to do is so important.
"Just to know that we had all that support from complete strangers meant a lot," Debbie Laird said.
"The biggest thing that people need to remember is never to forget this officer. He gave his life for his community and for his city," Mike Laird said.