Baker Chief fears recent shooting result of city-wide budget cut

Baker Chief fears recent shooting result of city-wide budget cut

BAKER, LA (WAFB) - A shooting that started with a knock on a door caused serious worries in the sleepy city of Baker, and police warn this is an incident that could easily happen again.

"We're only a double yellow line away from Baton Rouge," said Chief Mike Knaps with the Baker Police Department. "The same problems happening there are happening here, too."

Relatively speaking, however, Baker is a safe community with little in the way of major crime. That is what made Thursday morning's shooting so shocking.

"This happened at 9:30 in the morning," Chief Knaps said. "This was broad daylight and that speaks volumes."

The victim told police he heard a knock at the door and the person on the other side identified himself as a UPS employee. When the victim opened the door, the suspect was pointing a pistol at him and demanded money.

"Robberies go up for us two times every year. The first starts around Black Friday when everybody has gift cards. That continues until after Christmas because people have cash," Knaps explained. "Then around this time of year they go after the tax returns. A lot of people get a little money back and they keep it on them as cash."

The crook who attempted to rob the man inside the home on Harding Street did not get a fist full of cash. Rather, the victim slammed the door. That is when he says the robber began shooting at the door.

"Whoever did this has no conscious whatsoever," Knaps said. "I really believe that there are some people out there who just don't have a conscious and believe they're entitled to anything they want."

The bullets went through the metal door and hit the victim in his shoulder and forearm. Fortunately, he survived the incident, but Knaps fears this could easily happen again.

"I do believe this was random," he noted. "But I said it seven months ago when they cut the manpower that it would have an effect."

Funds were cut from the Baker city budget last year and that impacted the police department.

"They have to increase the number of activity calls, which decreases the amount of time they have to go out there for proactive patrolling," Knaps explained. "Our proactive patrol is what's kept Baker one of the safest cities in the state. We're losing that little by little."

Chief Knaps continues to petition the city council for the funds needed to go back to full operation. Until then, he hopes the public can help identify the individual responsible for this shooting.

If you know anything about this incident, call Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP (7867).

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