NASHVILLE, TN – A Metro Police officer was reportedly in critical condition after being shot during a traffic stop on the morning of March 12th.
Later updates from officials note that the officer has since been stabilized following surgery, but the investigation into the incident is still ongoing.
Here are the details known thus far.
UPDATE: Field Training Officer Josh Baker is in stable condition after undergoing surgery at Vanderbilt. Officer Baker is a 14-year MNPD veteran. pic.twitter.com/0VyfPqG5jd
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) March 12, 2021
Officials from the Metro Nashville Police Department say that the incident started out as a traffic stop at around 9:30 a.m on March 12th, which the traffic stop occurred in the parking lot of a Dollar General on Brick Church Pike near Ewing Drive.
Officer Josh Baker had pulled over a vehicle whose registered owner was reportedly wanted on six outstanding warrants. Officials say the person behind the wheel during the traffic stop was later confirmed to not be the registered owner of the vehicle.
MNPD spokesperson Don Aaron stated that the traffic stop had then “devolved” into a shootout between the woman driving the vehicle and Officer Baker.
The driver inside of the vehicle, later identified as 31-year-old Nika Holbert, was said to have opened fire on Officer Baker – striking him in the torso.
Officer Baker reportedly returned fire on Holbert, striking her in the process.
Holbert was said to have tried driving away after being shot, where she later crashed her vehicle shortly thereafter at the intersection of Brick Church Pike and Moorehead Drive.
Update: The female shot, Nika Nicole Holbert, 31, has died at Skyline Medical Ctr. https://t.co/KS7YHlVSl3
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) March 12, 2021
Emergency crews were deployed to the scene to render aid to the officer and suspect. Both Officer Baker and Holbert were transported to nearby hospitals, where the suspect later died from her injuries.
Officer Baker was initially reported as being in critical condition following the shooting – but after having undergone surgery, he has since been listed as being in stable condition.
Investigators working the scene of the incident were said to have recovered a pistol from the parking lot – which investigators believe to be the gun allegedly used by the now-deceased suspect.
In a statement delivered by Mayor John Cooper regarding the shooting incident, he offered condolences to both the injured officer and to the family of the recently deceased:
“What happened today is a reminder that being a police officer anywhere can be a dangerous job. My thoughts and prayers are with Officer Baker and with the families of everyone involved.”
Officer Baker, who has been with the MNPD for 14 years, was reportedly wearing a body camera during the shooting and investigators are actively retrieving and reviewing the footage from the incident.
No details have been shared as to a possible motive for the shooting as of this writing, nor have officials shared the relationship details between the deceased suspect and the owner of the vehicle she was driving at the time the shooting occurred.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations is currently taking the lead on this investigation.
Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further updates on this developing case.
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In other recent cases involving officers injured on the job, three officers were said to have been shot while investigating a possible break-in of a vacant home in Kansas.
Here’s that previous report from earlier in March.
WICHITA, KS – Three Wichita Police officers were reportedly injured in late February by a shotgun initially believed to be modified as an alleged booby-trap when responding to a vacant residence.
Updated story: Police are still working to determine if the shotgun was rigged to go off https://t.co/bMVnK6ugyV
— Michael Stavola (@MichaelStavola1) February 28, 2021
The incident reportedly occurred at approximately 4:00 p.m. on February 27th when officers from the Wichita Police Department had responded to a call from the owner of a vacant home located within the 1400-block of South Saint Francis.
Apparently the homeowner had noticed some open windows on the vacant home, and told police that they suspected someone might be inside of the residence.
When the officers responded to the address in question that was purportedly vacant, officers on scene described hearing a loud bang – and three officers wound up being injured.
At the time of the incident, police on the scene were both unaware of what caused the blast and whether there was anyone actually inside of the residence at the time.
Investigators later found that the blast had come from a shotgun where the trigger guard had been reportedly removed. Furthermore, no individuals were found inside of the residence on February 27th.
@WichitaPolice Did not find anyone inside the house. Three Wichita Police officers were injured from a modified, loaded shotgun that was discharged when the officers entered. @KSNNews will continue to keep you updated on air and online. pic.twitter.com/wSNOKNToks
— Andrea Herrera (@AndreaHerreraTV) February 28, 2021
During the preliminary phases of the investigation, it was suspected that the shotgun may have been intentionally modified to go off if disturbed in any manner.
One day following the incident, police wound up making two arrests in relation to the case, with the suspects identified as 46-year-old James Hathorn and 43-year-old Tiffany Vulgamore.
The two suspects were reportedly arrested after the were witnessed allegedly entering the same home from the incident the evening prior.
Vulgamore was reportedly arrested under charges of burglary, theft, discharge of a firearm and failure to comply; and Hathorn was arrested under charges of aggravated battery, criminal possession of a firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia and multiple burglary and theft counts.
In a update provided by Wichita Police officials regarding the investigation, both of the suspects were alleged to have been staying unlawfully at the residence for some time – and just happened to be not there when police responded on February 27th.
Furthermore, the suspicion of the shotgun being rigged as some sort of booby-trap was also walked back in the WPD statement:
“The investigation revealed Hathorn and Vulgamore had been staying in the home but left before officers arrived.”
“A loaded sawed-off shotgun had been left in a side pouch of a recliner inside. The shotgun was modified and had no trigger guard.”
“It is not believed the shotgun was intentionally set-up to fire on officers or intruders in the home.”
Due to the trigger guard having been removed from the shotgun, investigators suspect that the discharge accidentally occurred from the trigger getting caught on either a cord or the recliner’s fabric, “after it was disturbed by officers moving the furniture.”
The three officers that were injured during the incident were not identified by name, with officials relaying on March 1st that two had already been released from the hospital and the third was slated for release later that day.
All three officers are expected to fully recovered and eventually return to duty at a later date.
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