NICHOLAS COUNTY, WV (WOWK)—The Summersville community is mourning the death of Nicholas County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Baker.
Starting at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, first responders and community members escorted Deputy Baker from Charleston back home to Summersville.
Nicholas County Sheriff William F. Nunley and Chief Paul Kutcher stood to salute Deputy Baker as the procession entered Nicholas County. The Department asked anyone that wished to do so to line the roadway on the berm from Powells Mtn. to Summersville. There were multiple flags held in honor as people stood by to pay their respects.
“When we drove through, you saw hundreds and hundreds of citizens in Nicholas County who were showing their pride through their pain. There were no political grounds, there was nothing standing in the way, it was broken hearts who were reaching out to let the community know they love them and they’re here for them,” said Aaron Evans, a nephew of Deputy Baker.
Evans continued to say there’s a lot of healing is underway for the entire community.
Those who worked with Deputy Baker say they appreciate and continue to ask for the community’s support during this time.
“Standing behind us in a time of tragedy and trouble, we need that. We can’t do this job alone, we need the public we need their help,” said Gerald Proctor, a Deputy Sheriff with Nicholas County.
13 News spoke with Deputy Baker’s sister-in-law, Dee Grim, and she told us that “Tom was truly one of the greatest men around! First and foremost, he was a strong man of God and relied on his faith through everything. Always encouraging. His smile was so contagious and would light up a room. He would do anything for anyone at any given time. He had a love for my sister like no other. He loved his kids more than anything. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. He loved his career as a law enforcement officer and sacrificed his life to protect others.”
A candlelight vigil will be held on the Nicholas County Courthouse lawn at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Sheriff’s Department says that the community is welcome to bring candles and stand with them as they remember Deputy Baker.
Deputy Baker’s visitation will be Wednesday, June 8 from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Summersville Armory and Conference Center. The funeral will start at 5:00 p.m.
On Friday evening, Deputy Baker and Cpl. J. Ellison responded to a domestic disturbance in the Birch River area. The Nicholas County Sheriff’s Office says that when the two arrived, they made contact with Ritchie Holcomb and Tyler Kelly and that at some point, the two suspects became agitated and ran back into a camper.
The Sheriff’s Department says deputies pursued them and discharged a taser before the suspects began firing at the officers. Deputy Tom Baker was struck in the back, and Cpl. J. Ellison was shot in the leg. Deputy Baker was killed, and Cpl. J. Ellison was treated and released.
One of the suspects, Ritchie Holcomb was also killed.
Tyler Kelly was taken into custody. He is being held without bond at the Central Regional Jail in Flatwoods.