Prose­cu­tor: Lo­cal man threat­ened Texas po­lice

Death threats phoned in af­ter Dal­las shoot­ing

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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

ELK­TON

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.”

BAKER

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