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GPD offering rewards for Scott Baird case and 27 cold case homicides

Press release from Gainesville Police Department

In an effort to gain new information on 27 cold case homicides dating back to 1974, the City of Gainesville is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the deaths of those featured on the Gainesville Police Department (GPD) ‘Cold Case Homicide’ webpage:

http://www.gainesvillepd.org/About-GPD/History/Cold-Cases/Cold-Cases-Copy

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Additionally, the City of Gainesville is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for causing the line-of-duty death of GPD Officer Scott Baird on February 12th, 2001.

This past February 12th marked the somber 20th anniversary of the line-of-duty death of Gainesville Police Officer Scott Baird. A candlelight vigil, attended by survivors of the Baird family and supported by Gainesville Police Department members as well as local government leaders and neighbors, was held behind Gainesville High School at the 1800 block of NW 16th Terrace, known now as Officer Scott Baird Boulevard. The celebration of Officer Baird’s life was held at his roadside memorial.

At approximately 4:00 a.m. on Monday, February 12th, 2001, Officer Baird was dispatched to a call of a baseball-practice batting cage in the middle of the roadway behind Gainesville High School, blocking the vehicle travel lanes of NW 16th Terrace. Upon arrival, Officer Baird called for a contract tow truck to move the cage, as the device weighed about 400 pounds and was not easily maneuvered.

While Officer Baird was attempting to move the batting cage out of the road himself, in an attempt to clear the travel lanes of this obstruction, a car came over the hill in the heavy fog, which significantly limited the driver’s visibility. The driver claimed he was also distracted by Officer Baird’s patrol vehicle emergency lights and did not see the batting cage until it was too late to avoid. The driver subsequently struck the metal cage after attempting to brake, which caused the cage to strike Officer Baird who located between the batting cage and his patrol car. Officer Baird was killed instantly due to massive head injuries. Officer Baird’s death represents one of only four officers killed in the line of duty at the Gainesville Police Department; it is also the only incident that remains unsolved.

The people responsible for positioning the batting cage in the road have never come forward and the case has been an unsettling reminder of the sacrifice Officer Baird gave to prevent needless injury or even death to an innocent victim. Having just observed the 20th anniversary of Officer Baird’s death, the City of Gainesville wishes to bring closure to this travesty and assist with both the healing of our neighbors, who have lamented in Officer Baird’s passing, and the easing of the forbearance of the Baird family for a life taken from them far too soon.

If you believe that you have information that will assist with the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this incident, or any of the tragic loss of life in the cold case homicides featured on the GPD website, please contact Sgt. David Blizzard at 352-393-7710, or you may call the general Investigations Divisions tip line at 352- 393-7700.

GPD will feature additional cold case homicides in the future as we seek to highlight and solve each of these unsolved cases.

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