More than 100 people gathered Saturday night behind Gainesville High School to honor the memory of former Gainesville Police Officer Scott M. Baird.
Baird died Feb. 12, 2001, after responding to a call about a large metal batting cage blocking Northwest 16th Terrace. He was waiting for a tow truck to move the cage when a passing vehicle collided with the cage, knocking it into Baird and killing him instantly.
Police believe the cage was placed in the street as a prank but never charged anyone in connection to the accident.
“This service is a reminder that all he did is not in vain,” said Kelly Gaudet, Baird’s mother.
She said she wants people to remember that Northwest 16th Terrace, which was renamed Officer Scott M. Baird Boulevard, is not just a street but also the place where her son lay down his life.
A new stone monument was placed at the site Thursday to mark where Baird lost his life.
Cpl. Tracy Fundenburg, who organizes the candlelight vigil each year , said Gaudet is a hero for the way she’s persevered and triumphed over the tragedy.
Fundenburg said the vigil helped to remember Baird’s life and honor his service to the department.
“Scott was a good guy, and you can tell how well-liked he was by this turnout,” she said.
Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones said he can empathize with Baird’s family as he lost a son years ago.
Jones said his department is still committed to finding those responsible for Baird’s death.
“We would like to bring those individuals to justice one day,” he said.