The family of a fallen Gainesville police officer is speaking out after vandals destroyed a memorial and sparked an outpouring of public support.
“I am overwhelmed by the support and care that people have shown throughout the community,” said GPD officer Kelly Gaudet, mother of Scott Baird, who was killed in 2001 while trying to move a batting cage out of NW 16th Terrace. “With the generous donations we have received, we will soon be able to place a nice monument out there and maybe some solar lights to illuminate it at night.”
GPD officers, family and friends had gathered at the memorial on Feb. 12 to mark the 20th anniversary of Baird’s passing. The stone was reported destroyed on March 5.
“We were in complete shock and utter disbelief that someone would do something so heinous,” Gaudet said in a statement released by GPD.
Baird’s brother Buddy immediately set up a Facebook fundraiser to replace the memorial, and it quickly surpassed the $1,000 goal. The funding currently sits at $5,704 raised from 102 people.
“With the most humble of hearts, we would like to thank everyone that has taken the time to donate and/or share the fundraiser page made for Officer Scott Baird’s memorial marker,” Buddy Baird said in a statement.
O.T. Davis Monument Company took the broken stone and made temporary repairs so that it remains in place until the permanent replacement arrives.
GPD is asking anyone with information about the destruction of the memorial to contact GPD officer Welch at: email@example.com