The fugitive who allegedly killed a sheriff’s sergeant has been captured and charged with premeditated murder after a days-long manhunt in Tennessee, authorities said.
Steven Wiggins, who had been on the run since the fatal shooting in Dickson County earlier this week, was taken into custody Friday morning, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).
An image of Wiggins released by the TBI showed him in handcuffs in the back of a squad car with what appeared to be dirt smeared across his clothes and a large rip in his jeans.
“I am very pleased to announce this morning that the fugitive Steven Wiggins is officially in custody,” TBI director Jason Locke said at a press conference Friday morning. “Sheriff Bledsoe and his staff can now focus on joining the family and beginning to mourn the loss of this great man, Sgt. Baker.”
Wiggins was caught after a state trooper on duty spotted him in the woods along Stinson Road in neighboring Hickman County, some 40 miles southwest of Nashville, according to Col. Dereck Stewart of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Trooper Kevin Burch immediately got out of his patrol vehicle and approached the suspect, who wears glasses, has a beard and has distinctive tattoos.
“That’s when he noticed the tattoos and was able to confirm that he met the overall description of the suspect that we’ve been looking for,” Stewart told reporters at the press conference.
The trooper drew his weapon and ordered Wiggins to get down on the ground. Wiggins “willfully obeyed” the orders and the trooper was able to arrest him without incident, Stewart said.
Wiggins was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries and will be booked in county jail once he’s treated, according to the TBI. The criminal investigation remains ongoing.
Sgt. Daniel Scott Baker, a 10-year veteran of the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office and a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, was found dead in his car in a wooded area after responding to a 911 call Wednesday morning, according to the TBI.
Baker, 32, is survived by his wife and daughter.
That night, Erika Castro-Miles was arrested in connection with Baker’s death and booked in county jail. Investigators allege Wiggins shot Baker while Erika Castro-Miles sat in the car with Wiggins, according to Castro-Miles’ arrest affidavit.
Wiggins, who was believed to be armed and dangerous, remained at large until his capture Friday morning. Authorities did not describe the relationship between Wiggins and Castro-Miles.
“This has been a trying week for each of us,” Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe told reporters at Friday’s press conference. “This is not closure for us. Closure will only come once we can honor and lay Sgt. Daniel Scott Baker to rest and we can see prosecution begin, and when we get closure and a deposition and a resolve in this criminal case, then perhaps we can move forward.”
Bledsoe read an emotional statement to reporters from Baker’s wife, Lisa, having to pause in between sentences at times to collect himself.
In her statement, Lisa Baker thanked the “endless efforts” of law enforcement agencies and partners in apprehending the two suspects “who have forever changed our lives.” She also thanked the tight-knit community for their “outpouring support” and asked that they help make sure her daughter, Meredith, is always reminded of “how wonderful and amazing her father is.”
“There are no words to describe the level of devastation that myself and family are dealing with,” Lisa Baker said in the statement. “His service and dedication to this country and community will always be remembered.”
Ray Crouch Jr., the district attorney general of Tennessee’s 23rd Judicial District, announced in a statement that Wiggins and Castro-Miles have each been charged with first-degree premeditated murder, for which they will face the death penalty. Both suspects are being held without bail.
ABC News’ Jack Date, Rachel Katz and Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.