PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Friends and family of Chance Baker are looking for answers after he was shot and killed by Sgt. Nicholas Goodman of the Portland Police Department on Saturday Morning.
Witnesses say Baker was waving a gun around in the parking lot of Union Station Plaza when he was fatally shot. That gun was later identified as a pellet gun.
Family, coworkers, and friends say that Baker was homeless and had fallen on hard times, but that the Chance they knew was kind, funny, and hopeful - and that he will be missed.
“He was a good kid. He was always good to us,” said Amanda Berrick, a friend of Baker’s who knew him from his time at the Preble Street Resource Center. “He was younger than me but he always acted like my big brother.”
She knew Baker at some of his toughest times - when he was in and out of the Preble Street Shelter in Portland.
The shelter released a statement saying: “We learned late yesterday of the tragic death of a young man, who was a former client. We are deeply saddened by what happened and the agency is doing what we can to comfort our clients and staff.”
Berrick says Baker decided to live in a tent because he didn't feel safe at times.
She says that she gave him money and told him to protect himself – which she thinks may be what he was trying to do when he purchased a pellet gun. “I gave him a few dollars just a couple weeks ago to go down and either purchase a knife or something just to protect himself,” she said.
But she says the man described as erratic and intoxicated, waving that pellet gun isn't the man she knew. “That doesn't sound like Chance,” she said. “That [doesn't] sound like Chance to me. I'm sorry, he wasn't like that. He was the nicest kid.”
Jillian McLeod-Tardiff thought the same thing. She worked at a movie theater with Baker just over a year ago. She says the man she knew was full of ambition and hope.
“[He had] big ideas about things he wanted to do in the future,” she said. “Like I remember him talking about the dog that His family raised when he was a kid, and how he would love to have some land to rescue dogs.”
Baker's Great Aunt Judy wrote to NEWS CENTER on Facebook, saying "Chance had his problems and in the end he was a lost soul. Our hearts are very sad and we will miss the Chance we knew and loved. It’s sad that many will only remember the end of his life and the lost soul he was."
Friends feel the same sentiment.
“How did he get from the person that I knew as a friend and coworker to the state that he was in?” said McLeod-Tardiff. “And who along the way could have helped him? Could I have helped him?”
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