Louisiana State Police mourn the loss of Trooper George Baker
HAMMOND - The trooper who was struck by a Hammond Police Officer succumbed to his wounds on Sunday.
According to Louisiana State Police, Trooper George Baker, 33, passed away in his hospital bed at North Oaks Medical Center.
Baker was hit by a Hammond Police unit early Wednesday morning, while assisting city officers with a chase near Wardline Road and I-55. Baker was reportedly removing a spike strip from the roadway when a pursuing officer's vehicle struck him and another trooper.
The other trooper received minor injuries and was released from the hospital that day.
Hammond Police say the driver of the vehicle that was fleeing law enforcement at the time, 18-year-old Nathan Anding, was additionally charged with manslaughter after Baker's death.
Baker was a 10-year law enforcement and military veteran.
A vigil that was held with his family, friends, and his fellow Troopers remained at the hospital from the very beginning until his passing.
The day before Baker's passing a fellow trooper wrote a heartfelt message in regards to Trooper Baker:
You see us out there. Driving on your commute to work, school, home, or church. You see our patrol units. Immaculate white. Clean. Red reflective letters. Dark blue boot on the door.
You know what is inside that car. A man or woman clad in dark blue, trimmed in gold piping. Gold boot badge and gold buckle. Mirror-shined boots. Blue Smokey hat. A Louisiana State Trooper.
You see us on the side of the road. Writing tickets during traffic enforcement. Investigating a traffic crash. Sometimes arresting a poor soul who made a bad choice and decided to drive after having too much to drink.
You don’t see how difficult it is to get this job. The hiring process. The multiple interviews. The long waits for a phone call to see if you get a chance to be one of the best.
You don’t see the jumping up and down in excitement when you finally get the call and receive the offer of employment. The sense of awe you feel when you finally realize you’re getting a chance to wear the blue and gold.
You don’t see the training academy. Six months of physical and mental endurance. Tens of thousands of push ups. Hundreds of miles of running and swimming. The unbelievable soreness. The sleepless nights. Thousands of hours of lectures and study. Range time. Driver training. Officer survival. Being away from our family for all but 2 nights a week...often to spend those nights at home studying for an exam when we return.
You don’t see the sense of pride on graduation day. The way our chest swells and most eyes mist when our loved one pins that badge on our uniform for the first time. You don’t hear the thunder from our boots marching as we sing “Hail, State Police” in cadence. You don’t see the feeling of accomplishment for graduating and the weight of responsibility that was just placed on your shoulders.
There is so much more that you don’t see. We are husbands and wives, brother and sisters, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers. We chose a different path in life than most and we are both loved and hated for it. I, for one, understand that. The badge we wear does not make us any stronger. It serves to hold us to a higher standard. We took this job to help people and we take it very seriously.
Now, as I write this, one of us is down. Critically injured while assisting another agency. Regardless of fault, one of us lies in God’s hands. A husband, father, brother, and son. A former United States Marine who chose to continue to serve the public. It could have been any one of us. We have all been in a similar situation that could have caused such a traumatic outcome.
We all knew the risks when we took this profession. When we raised our right hand and took our oath. That being said, none of that makes this any easier.
Please, pray. Pray for the family. The doctors. The medical staff. Pray for everyone that has to try to put this in the back of their mind and suit up today for their tour of duty.
Buckle up and drive safe, everyone.
To my fellow Troopers, Godspeed and be safe out there."
-Trooper Michael Bennett, LSP Troop C
Trooper Baker is survived by his wife Heather, their daughter Harper, his parents, his sisters, and his extended family. Baker joined the Louisiana State Police on November 2017 and is the first LSP line of duty death since Senior Trooper Steven Vincent in August 2015.
State Police Superintendent, Colonel Kevin Reeves said, “Trooper Baker passed today leaving our hearts heavy but full of pride as he exemplified our values of duty, selfless service, and personal courage.”
His organs will be donated to those in need and will be afforded full honors earned with a line of duty death.
La. Gov. John Bel Edwards commented on the passing of Trooper Baker:
My heart is heavy at the passing of Trooper Baker, who served the people of our state with honor and dedication and died from injuries sustained in the line of duty. His selfless commitment to his fellow Louisianans represents the best of us and he continues to serve even after his passing by having his organs donated to help others in need. His courage and bravery will never be forgotten.
Please join Donna and me in praying for Trooper Baker, his wife Heather, daughter Harper, family, friends and countless others as they mourn this great loss. Our thoughts are also with all members of Louisiana State Police, who have lost a true teammate and brother today.