Shootings Suspect Had Other Run-ins with Law
A man who fatally shot two West Virginia troopers and wounded two others had previous run-ins with the law, including a 2009 incident in which he told officers that he wanted police to kill him.
West Virginia State police say Luke Baber, age 22, of Oak Hill, WV fatally shot Cpl. Marshall Lee Bailey and wounded Trooper Eric Workman, who later died at the hospital at the Wallback park-and-ride off Interstate 79 during a traffic stop Tuesday night, August 25, 2012.
Baber also wounded a tow truck driver and Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy John Westfall before he was killed in a shootout with other officers.
Baber threatened his parents with a weapon that turned out to be a BB gun in 2009.
Baber struggled with Fayette County sheriff’s deputies who responded to the incident and told them after he was in custody that he wanted police to kill him, according to a criminal complaint.
Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler said Baber was charged in that incident with domestic assault and obstructing an officer.
“To my knowledge, he pleaded guilty and went to jail,“ Kessler told the Charleston Daily Mail.
Baber was charged in January with uttering but the charge was later dismissed after no victim appeared in Fayette County Magistrate Court.
Oak Hill Police Chief Mike Whisman said Baber was charged in July 2010 with destruction of property and in July 2011 with petty theft.
“He was known to us,“ Whisman told the Daily Mail. “I’m not sure if I’d say well-known.“
Baber’s aunt, Janet Baber, said the family is devastated by Tuesday’s shootings. She said the family reached out to WV State Police to offer condolences and thank troopers for their service.
“We are just very sad for those policemen and for their families — those innocent people,“ she told the Charleston Gazette.
Janet Baber said her nephew “just had problems and it got the best of him.“
Those problems included drug abuse, according to Janet Baber and Laura Maroney, a friend of Luke Baber’s.
“His friends knew about his drug problems,“ Maroney told the Daily Mail. “But he was a very private person. I’d ask him about it, but he didn’t want to talk about it.“
Marone and other friends asked Luke Baber to get help. “But it seemed like he didn’t want help,“ she said.
Brian Hamilton said he and Baber had been best friends since age 12. They had planned to go fishing Tuesday night but the plan was canceled.
“If we went fishing, that would have never happened to him or the police or anyone,“ Hamilton told WSAZ-TV. “It would have been better for everyone all around.“
Bailey’s funeral is set for 2:00 PM Sunday at the Charleston Civic Center, according to Gatens-Harding Funeral Home in Poca .
No arrangements has been made for Workman’s funeral at this time.