Bio & Incident Details
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Chief of Police Michael Baer was shot and killed as he and a sheriff's deputy searched for a gang of horse thieves that had been active in the Fort Smith area.
The two officers were riding along the Little Rock Road (modern-day Highway 22), approximately 10 miles east of Fort Smith, when they encountered a group of three men. Before any words were exchanged the men opened fire on the officers, who returned fire.
Chief Baer was struck in the chest and fatally wounded. One of the subjects in the other group was wounded. It was later determined that the men who opened fire on them had been victims of the horse thieves earlier in the evening and mistook Chief Baer and the deputy for the thieves.
Chief Baer had recently been appointed as police chief and had previously served as constable of Fort Smith. He was survived by his expectant wife.