Court records shed more light on constable probe, shooting
PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) -While a federal judge decides whether to release District 4 Pulaski County Constable Gary Baldock from jail on civil rights and attempted murder charges, federal prosecutors have released new information about how the case developed and what happened the morning Baldock was arrested at his Somerset home.
While FBI agents acknowledge Baldock called 911 twice the morning of his arrest and shoot out with agents, they note those calls came after Baldock opened fire on the deputies.
Furthermore, even after he’d been shot, Baldock continued to try to hold off agents and tried to call his co-defendant and fellow constable, District 5’s Michael “Wally” Wallace twice.
Baldock and relatives have tried to use the 911 calls to suggest he didn’t realize the people at his door were FBI agents coming to arrest him on the federal civil rights indictment handed down Feb. 27 by a grand jury. Instead, he thought he was the victim of a home burglary, friends have intimated.
In affidavits, agents say otherwise, emphasizing officers used loudspeakers and other tools to notify Baldock and ask him to come outside. Interviews with neighbors, documented in the FBI files, confirmed that, according to court records.
In a court filing, prosecutors described the morning:
“The verbal commands included repeated orders to come to the front door. After Baldock would not respond, FBI personnel breached the front and rear doors to the residence, but did not enter the residence, consistent with the operational plan. Four agents were assigned to the rear of the residence. Once the rear door was breached, an agent observed a man holding a holstered pistol, as the person holding the weapon was taking a defensive posture behind a wall inside the residence.
“Agents repeatedly ordered that person, later found to be Constable Baldock, to drop the gun while identifying themselves as “FBI.” Baldock then brandished the firearm and began shooting at the agents. An agent returned fire and Baldock stopped firing his weapon. Once Baldock’s weapon left the field of view, personnel continued to identify themselves as “FBI” and ordered him to get his hands up.
“Baldock then fired again at the agents, hitting an agent positioned to the side of a protective shield in the hand and upper arm. All agents were wearing clothing that identified themselves as law enforcement personnel. Agents never entered the residence before Baldock began shooting. The wounded agent was shot while maintaining his position outside of the residence.”
Further in the court filings, agents say they finally got the wounded Baldock to surrender.
“Baldock maintained an aggressive posture with his weapon, even after being shot. After the agent was wounded, FBI personnel sent a robot equipped with a camera into the residence. The camera revealed Baldock maintaining an aggressive posture with his weapon over his bed. Baldock eventually was convinced to approach the front door. He had been hit in the exchange of gunfire and was bleeding from the chest,” the documents describe.
Baldock’s Glock semi-automatic pistol was recovered from the scene and the constable admitted shooting at the agents but still maintained the agents shot at him first and never identified themselves, according to the documents.
Gary Chad Baldock, one of Baldock’s two sons, “approached the FBI during the subsequent forensic investigation of the residence and stated that his father told him on Tuesday (three days before the Friday arrest) that he knew that he had been indicted and was scared. Gary Chad has since attempted to change that statement by indicating that his father knew that he had been indicted, but that Gary Chad was not directly told that by his father,” U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr. notes in the documents.
Agents also say they found a small “baggie of” meth and scales in Baldock’s constable’s car in his garage.
Duncan’s court filings also shed some light on how the investigation into the civil rights violations was conducted, including details of a Sept. 24, 2019, undercover operation which eventually prompted Wallace to call FBI agents asking if he was under investigation.
The two men are accused of agreeing “to violate citizens’ Constitutional rights by either planting drug evidence, searching or arresting without cause, and stealing seized money” between Nov. 18, 2018 and Sept. 24, 2019, the date of the last undercover operation.
On that day, the FBI called in a report of a possible drug trafficker to Wallace’s tip line. The FBI had the undercover agent under surveillance on the ground and in the air and had the car and the agent’s hotel room bugged.
The court documents detail a number of violations committed by Wallace and Baldock, including a bogus arrest for public intoxication.
“The agent was thoroughly searched inside the hotel room by Wallace and Baldock. Constable Wallace and Baldock threatened the agent with a long prison sentence if he did not reveal the location of drugs after the hotel room search recovered no controlled substances. Throughout the encounter, the agent repeatedly denied being involved with controlled substances. When no drugs could be found, Constable Baldock contacted Officer Thomas and asked what a citation should say if someone were to be properly arrested for public intoxication,” Duncan wrote in court filings.
“Following the agent’s arrest, the investigative team arranged for his release from custody. Constable Wallace was notified, presumably by an associate at the jail, that the suspect he had arrested had been released. This prompted Wallace to begin calling FBI agents asking if he were being investigated. Wallace and Baldock were known, based on the investigation, to be close associates. Telephone toll analysis corroborates the connection, as the two had over 2,000 contacts between July and December 2019,” the prosecutor wrote at another point.
In the end, Duncan agrees Baldock meets the standards for community ties to warrant possible bond release, but he argues his actions outweigh those facts.
“The Defendant’s decision-making is what turns the detention analysis. Simply, if this Defendant is willing to try to kill FBI agents trying to secure his arrest, what possibly can a bail package do to reasonably secure his appearance in court? Between the point of release and trial, anyone seeking to secure compliance with conditions, or that attempted to secure him should he fail to abide by conditions, would be in imminent danger given this record showing his capacity to use lethal force,” Duncan argues.
“Such a risk cannot be mitigated with conditions. The record shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the Defendant cannot reasonably be expected to appear in court if released, given the FBI’s stated purpose to secure his appearance in court through an arrest. The record also shows by clear and convincing evidence that he poses a danger too great to be mitigated through any bail package,” the [prosecutor concluded.
Baldock has offered to surrender his badge and constable gear, put up the $50,000 equity in his home on Mountain View Drive in Somerset, wear a monitoring device, and meet regularly with probation officers as part of a bond release.
The two men are set for trial June 29, 2020 in U.S. District Court in London. But a judge’s decisions in their pending motions could delay that date.
Wallace was first elected constable in 2006 and built a tough anti-drug reputation. Baldock was elected constable in November 2018 although he has a long record in law enforcement in Casey and Pulaski counties.
Wallace has asked that his case be separated from Baldcok’s because it will be difficult for the jury to separate the civil rights allegations from the shooting details.
FBI agents went to their homes simultaneously on the morning of March 6 to serve the indictments. Wallace was arrested without incident and released later the same day.