Prosecutor: Local man threatened Texas police
Death threats phoned in after Dallas shooting
— Prosecutors have filed a criminal case against a North East-area man who allegedly called a 911 Center near Dallas on July 14 — a week after five Dallas area police officers were gunned down — and declared that “additional officers would be killed,” the Cecil County
State’s Attorney’s Office reported Wednesday.
The defendant, Steven Daniel Baker, 25, of the 300 block of Old Bayview Road, is charged with threat of mass violence, according to Cecil County Circuit Court records.
Baker’s alleged offense is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and, or, a $10,000 fine, court records show.
The charge is listed in a section of the Annotated Code of Maryland that addresses the “threat of mass violence,” and it applies if “five or more people are placed in reasonable fear that the crime will be committed,” regardless if the threat is ever carried out.
While he is charged in connection with that incident, Baker is a suspect in an ongoing investigation into two similar incidents that also occurred on July 14, one in which threatening phone calls were received in New York, the other in which similar calls were received in Louisiana, reported Maryland State Police Det. Sgt. Greg Hahn, lead investigator.
In one of those cases, Baker is believed to have called Precinct I of the New York City Police Depar tment several times on July 14 and made general death threats toward officers in that jurisdiction, said Hahn, who is assigned to the North East barrack.
In the other case, Baker is believed to have called the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, La., several times on that same day and made a general death threat toward officers in that agency, Hahn added.
“He called Baton Rouge a few days before the officers were murdered down there,” Hahn noted, referring to the July 17 incident in which an ambushing Missouri man shot and killed three Baton Rouge Police Department officers and wounded three other officers.
Although Baker is a suspect regarding the threatening phone call made to the Baton Rouge Police Department, investigators have ruled out Baker having any involvement in the deadly shootings that occurred there three days later, Hahn reported.
As for the incident resulting in the criminal case against him, Baker called the 911 Center in Lake Dallas, Texas — a small town a short distance northwest of Dallas — one or more times from his Old Bayview Road residence on July 14 and made a threat, according to charging documents.
“... The caller referenced the five law enforcement officers that were killed in Dallas, Texas, on July 7, 2016, and that additional officers would be killed,” alleges the “criminal information” document filed by the CCSAO.
In the incident allegedly referenced by Baker, a heavily-armed sniper had gunned down four Dallas Police Department officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer on July 7 — seven days earlier — in downtown Dallas amid what had been scheduled to be a peaceful demonstration.
The gathered crowd was publicly protesting fatal police-involved shootings of black men that had occurred earlier that week in Minnesota and Louisiana, as tension in some cities and towns throughout the United States continued to rise.
Deputy State’s Attorney Steven L. Trostle, who filed the charge against Baker after working closely with MSP investigators handling the case, declined to say how many phone calls Baker allegedly made to that Lake Dallas 911 Center.
Hahn launched his investigation about 8 p.m. July 14, immediately after authorities in Lake Dallas, Texas, had traced the threatening phone call to a location in the North East area and then contacted MSP to report the incident, police said.
Authorities in Lake Dallas also furnished Hahn with a recording of the threatening phone call, police added.
“I ran on it through the night,” Hahn said.
By the morning of July 15, the next day, Hahn had tracked down Baker at his Old Bayview Road residence and had interviewed him, according to Hahn, who declined to disclose the content of the interview that he conducted with Bak- er. And by that afternoon, Hahn had arrested Baker, the detective reported.
Based on information gained through Hahn’s investigation, Trostle charged Baker through a criminal information with threat to commit or cause to commit crimes of violence, which is shortened to “threat of mass violence” in court records.
“It was a joint effort with the Maryland State Police. We sought to have Mr. Baker charged and arrested as quickly as possible,” Trostle said.
Free on a $75,000 bond, Baker is scheduled for a Dec. 21 jury trial, court records show.
Officials at the Lake Dallas Police Department could not be reached Wednesday for comment on Baker’s alleged threats against officers with the agency. The criminal information document filed against Baker identifies the victims in this case as “Law Enforcement Officers of the Lakeland, Texas, Police Department” and the “911 center of Lake Dallas, Texas.”