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DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A man wanted after a Dickson County Sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed in the line-of-duty early Wednesday morning has been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s “Most Wanted” list.
TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland said a call came in around 7 a.m. about a “suspicious vehicle” on Sam Vineyard Road. Sgt. Daniel Baker responded to the scene.
Baker was later found dead inside his patrol car about two or three miles away from the initial scene. The deputy’s GPS system was used to locate his patrol car after there had not been any contact with him.
“There’s not much I can say today but our hearts are shattered,” Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said. “We just ask for your help.”
Bledsoe referred to Baker as “one of the best.
“This is one of our best deputies. He’s a supervisor. He’s worked his way up to sergeant on patrol, and he’s one of the ones who put it all on the line every day to keep our community safe. He was doing that again today with a call about a suspicious vehicle,” Bledsoe said.
“It’s a very difficult day for many in law enforcement,” TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland added.
Authorities are now searching for Steven Wiggins, who they said is a person of interest. Video evidence and other elements from the scene helped the TBI identify Wiggins as a suspect. The TBI said he should be considered armed and dangerous.
Bledsoe added, “What I want people to know is even though our hearts are broken, we’re driven with focus and resolve to make sure this person is captured.”
It is unknown if Wiggins is still on foot or if he has gained access to a vehicle.
“We don’t know what’s transpired since someone last saw him,” Niland said.
It’s unknown if there have been any confirmed sightings of Wiggins since Wednesday morning. Niland said a lot of tips have been called in throughout the day.
“We’ve gone door-to-door with teams looking for any signs of break-ins. At this time, we will continue the search. There’s people out there with information,” she said.
Wiggins was initially wanted for aggravated assault and theft.
Those charges stem from an incident that happened Tuesday evening in the 100 block of Luyben Hills Road in Kingston Springs.
Police said they responded to a domestic call at the location. The victim told police Wiggins slapped her in the face and pulled her hair out. She also reported he put a gun to her head and told her he would “going to kill her if she called the police.”
According to a police report, Wiggins got the woman’s keys and took her car without permission.
The victim told police Wiggins had “been doing meth all night and smoking marijuana.”
A Blue Alert was issued for Wiggins around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
According to the TBI, the alert is similar to an AMBER Alert, but is used in cases in which a law enforcement officer has been killed or seriously injured in the line-of-duty. A $7,500 reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest.
“It’s my prayer to God that our court will be a terror to him and the punishment he will receive,” Sheriff Bledsoe said.
He continued, “My message to him is that he needs to be turning himself in. He needs to be held accountable or what we know he has done – and he has the option to do the right thing. People make mistakes and people do things that are terrible, and this is an evil deed that he’s done, but now he can show people that there’s still something left in him by turning himself in.”
Wiggins is six feet one inch tall and weighs around 220 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.
The Dickson County Sheriff’s office also released pictures of Wiggins’ tattoos.
Wiggins has a lengthy arrest history that dates back to 2006. Over the past 12 years, he has been arrested for domestic violence or assault at least eight times, among other charges.
A woman somehow related to Wiggins and the case has been taken into custody. Her identity has not been released and it’s unknown why she is in custody.
Multiple agencies are assisting in the search.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts or sees anything suspicious should call 1-800-TBI-FIND or 911.