AG Jeff Sessions calls slain Boone County deputy ‘a true hero’

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BOONE COUNTY, Ind. – During visitation for Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Pickett, a letter from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was read proclaiming the slain lawman, “a true hero.”

Pickett was fatally wounded last Friday while chasing a man police said was fleeing in Lebanon.

Investigators said Anthony Baumgardt, 21, shot Pickett in the head as the deputy and his K9 partner Brik rounded the corner of an apartment building on the city’s north side.

Baumgardt told reporters before his initial court appearance Wednesday that he shot Pickett because he didn’t want to be bitten by the dog and that he had “no remorse” over the deputy’s death.

“It takes a special kind of person to work in law enforcement,” read a letter from Sessions shared by U.S. Attorney for Southern Indiana Josh Minkler, “and I’m told Jake was exactly that: a remarkable man, a dedicated husband and father and an outstanding public service servant throughout his career in law enforcement, most recently with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.”

Pickett joined BCSO three years ago after a career that began in Marion County and Tipton County law enforcement. He leaves behind a widow and two small boys.

“Deputy Jacob Pickett courageously stood his post, representing what is the best in society going into places that the average person fears to tread, seeing things no one wants to see,” said Sheriff Mike Nielsen, reading from a proclamation before the Pickett family was presented with an American flag.

Those sentiments were echoed outside the Crown Hill Funeral Home by Mark Cowan of Oathkeepers who drove down from Allen County to erect more than a dozen flags honoring Deputy Pickett.

“It just hurts to lose an officer,” said Cowan, “anyone who gave an oath to protect to protect the Constitution and the people and every one of these officers gave an oath and Officer Pickett kept his oath to the very end.

“They mean a lot to us. Anyone who will go in where angels fear to tread, they rush in when everyone else is rushing out.”

Cynthia Wizenread knows that pain. Her husband was Indiana State Trooper Andrew Wizenread who was killed on I-74 assisting a motorist in 1997.

“We come alongside of the families because of the fact that we know what they’ve been going through. We know that there is a hole in their heart that they’ve lost,” said Wizenread, President of Concerns of Police Survivors, COPS. “I think you sign up for this because you have a heart for it because its law enforcement. They’re out there, they’re trying to protect everybody.”

Pickett’s partner, Brik, a brown and black German shepherd-Belgian Malinois, has been ever present since the shooting, guided through a bewildering week by Deputy Pickett’s friends.

“We first started noticing it when I first got him he wasn’t eating as much,” said Lebanon Patrolwoman Taylor Nielsen. “They go through the same process that we do and it’s going to take him some time to get over it so he’s finally getting back to eating full meals and a lot more positive playful demeanor.”

Nielsen said it will be an honor to care for Brik until he is retired to live with the Pickett family.

The deputy’s funeral service begins at 11 a.m. Friday at Connection Pointe Christian Church in Brownsburg to be followed by a 50-mile long procession through three counties, before finally returning to the Heroes of Public Safety plot at Crown Hill Cemetery where Pickett will be laid to rest.

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