Community reacts to shooting of Boone County deputy

Deputy Jacob Pickett

LEBANON, Ind.– Shock turned into heartbreak Friday as residents learned Deputy Jacob Pickett was not expected to survive after he was shot in the line of duty. The investigation into the shooting spanned throughout several neighborhoods in Lebanon, something residents say they didn’t ever expect to happen in their town.

Friday morning investigators said officers with the Lebanon Police Department were serving an arrest warrant for a woman in the area of Hoosier estates when they came across John Baldwin Jr., who had outstanding warrants. Police said Baldwin and two others fled the scene.

Residents living in the mobile home community said they came outside to find police.

“Definitely a little terrifying incident, because I mean it’s a pretty small town, kind of quiet, so when you hear something like this with all the cop cars that were flying around town kind of, not exactly used to it. A little terrifying I guess,” Lebanon resident Brett Dickinson said.

The chase went through several Lebanon neighborhoods, leaving a trail of people with a site they didn’t expect outside their homes.

“Police, SWAT, snipers, police men with snipers,” Lebanon resident Char-Lee Evans said.

“They come through our yards with the guns and we immediately threw our hands up you know. They’re running across the street, running down by the bank,” Lebanon resident Jessica Martinez said.

During the pursuit, police said Pickett, 34, jumped in to help. The vehicle stopped on Indiana Springs Rd. and turned into a foot pursuit. Police said during the chase Pickett was shot. Police said he will not survive his injuries. His life is being preserved so he can be an organ donor.

“The pursuit went to the east side of Lebanon where two of the suspects got out of the vehicle and fled. One was pursued by Deputy Pickett and his K-9 Brik. Not long after Deputy Pickett exited his car and rounded the corner of a building, he was shot in the head,” Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said.

Investigators said they believe Anthony Baumgardt, 21, is the suspected shooter. Police said another officer shot him.

“I saw a cop car come flying through the middle part between apartments and then I heard a bunch of gunshots. And I ran through to my front bedroom into the living room and I looked out and there was a dude with a gun. And he was acting all crazy and that was before the cops were like on him,” resident Sonny Wadkins said. “And I heard people say drop it, drop it, drop it, drop it, drop it, and then they got on the scene and they were like drop it, drop it, drop it, drop it, drop it and then he was acting crazy with the gun all around and then they fired on him.”

Baumgardt was taken to a hospital and is expected to live.

“We will remain with Mr. Baumgardt until such a time he can leave here and be immediately, immediately incarcerated,” Carter said.

Police said another person in the vehicle, John Baldwin Sr., 55, fled on foot and later turned himself in. Investigators said Baldwin Jr. fled again in the vehicle and entered I-65 south traveling northbound before police stopped him and took him into custody.

Government offices closed and nearby businesses and schools went on lock down. One parent said he learned what was happening as he got the alert from his child’s school.

“I just thought it was like a drill I didn’t expect that until we were on 65 and seen all the police driving down 65 going on 865 it was crazy,” Lebanon resident Daniel Bolton said.

Meanwhile, as the community learned what happened, they remembered a hero, Deputy Pickett, who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“I mean I was, didn’t get to be really knowing  him, but I got to talk to him on occasional at Country Mart where he fueled up, that’s where we fuel up. We sat there and we talked and told him to be safe out there and I just thanked him for the service for the community,” resident Mark Spurlock said.

A memorial of flowers and blue ribbons quickly grew outside the sheriff’s office and law enforcement and community members met for an informal gathering at Witham Pavilion.

“They’re grieving, they try to keep it to themselves, but they can’t. So that’s why I came up tonight just to be around with the guys let them know that I support them and let the sheriff know that we support and love him,” Harold Baumer, a chaplain with the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, said.

Police said Pickett is a husband and father to two young children.

“I don’t understand evil in our society, what would have caused that individual to pull that trigger on that brave public servant, I guess we’ll never really know,” Carter said. “I offer my deepest condolences.”

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