Police chief says officer shot in face is in ‘good spirits’

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PLEASANT VALLEY, Mo. -- A Pleasant Valley, Mo., police officer, shot in the face during a traffic stop on Saturday, is alert and talking.

No charges have been filed against the suspect, Omar Maria, but he is behind bars in the Wyandotte County jail on an unrelated federal warrant

He was arrested in Kansas City, Kan., Sunday morning after a standoff with police. The Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating the shooting that severely injured officer Jacob Baldwin.

"It's the most serious injury our police department has ever had," Pleasant Valley Police Chief Mark Dumolt said.

Officer Baldwin pulled Maria over near the I-35, I-435 interchange. Before he could get out of his patrol car, Chief Dumolt says the suspect came out shooting.

"He was shot in the face," said Dumolt.

Baldwin was hit twice; Maria sped off. Despite the gun shots to the face, Baldwin was able to radio for help and give a description of the suspect. It wasn't long before every law enforcement agency in the metro knew what happened and began searching for him. He was found hiding in a house Sunday morning.

For Chief Dumolt, Monday's focus was on his officer and his department.

"We are upset and emotional, but we are professional police officers. We remain and stand strong," Dumolt said.

Baldwin is a military veteran who served four tours overseas including time in Iraq and Kuwait. He's not immune to violence, but no one expected this.

"He gets hurt literally across the street from the station house," Dumolt said.

Dumolt has had several conversations with Baldwin and says the prognosis is good.

"He's in very good spirits. He certainly has the mental attitude, he's positive and downplays all the attention, saying he was only doing his job," explained Dumolt.

Baldwin's daughter and mother have been by his side. Officers are taking shifts visiting with him as well.

There's no word on when he will be released from the hospital.

Maria will stay in the Wyandotte County Jail until charges are filed in Clay County, Mo.

A fund has been set up in Officer Baldwin's name called the "Jacob Baldwin Benefit Account." It has been established at the Kansas City Police/Code 1 Credit Union, at the North Branch Office, located at 8340 North Brighton, Kansas City, Missouri 64167.

Donations may be made at any of the credit union's other branch offices located throughout the metro area. For further information on locations and office hours, the main call center may be contacted at 816-234-2800. Those interested in making a contribution or donation for the officer may also access this link www.gofundme.com/iyezhk directly or refer to the Pleasant Valley, Missouri Police Department FaceBook page which has a link and information in regard to donations.