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Friends not surprised by Millcreek man's erratic behavior, arrest

Published: Monday, Sept. 24 2012 6:19 p.m. MDT

Eric Miltenberger looks at the home of David Baker in East Millcreek as he walks his dog Bandit, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

EAST MILLCREEK — For a year, Kristen Ulmer knew it wasn't a matter of "if" David Charles Baker was going to have a showdown with police, it was only a matter of when.

"The only thing that I'm surprised about is there aren't a bunch of people dead — including Baker. He wanted to die by police (shootout)," she said. "I knew something was going to happen and I knew it was going to be a big deal."

Ulmer has known Baker for 20 years, calling him one of her best friends for much of that time. She said she probably knows Baker as well as anybody.

"He was an absolute pleasure for 19 of the 20 years," she said Monday from her home in Mt. Olympus. But now, she hopes her former friend is charged, convicted and sentenced to prison.

"Because the second he gets out, I'm sure he's going to come after me, and that scares me. He's very manipulative. He'll do everything that they tell him to do and have them convinced that he's fine," she said. "He is a lifelong danger and I hope he never gets out." 

Sunday, Baker was arrested following a 4 ½ hour standoff with a SWAT team at his house, 3128 E. Del Mar Drive (3828 South). About 40 neighborhood homes were evacuated as police and fire crews investigated items Baker allegedly placed in other yards that were thought to be explosive devices.

Monday, new details emerged about Baker's arrest as well as his deteriorated relationships with some friends and family members. One relative in Vermont has an active restraining order against him, and former close friends such as Ulmer say they have been in fear of their lives for the past year.

Police said they had been monitoring the "mentally unstable" man for several months. He had shown increasingly bizarre behavior, neighbors said, had made threats against police, posted many unusual videos and blogs on the Internet and claimed to be speaking with God.

Baker, 47, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of being a restricted person in possession of weapons, fleeing while causing property damage in the process, interfering with an arrest, threats against life, 911 abuse and mail theft.

Investigators finished going through Baker's house early Monday. They recovered a rifle, a handgun, ammunition, cocaine and marijuana and also found trip wires in his backyard, said Unified police detective Levi Hughes.

Several neighbors Sunday described Baker as odd and eccentric, but before Sunday didn't consider him a person who posed a threat to others.

Ulmer spoke out Monday because she said she wanted others to know her former friend was more than just a man with bizarre habits.

"Absolutely, he is an extreme danger to this community, to his friends, to himself," she said. "I feel nervous even talking about him, because I've been tiptoeing through my life just not wanting to trigger him because I knew something bad was going to happen. I didn't know when and I didn't know what, but I didn't want to be involved personally. So even mentioning his name is making me nervous. He's a very dangerous person."

Sunday's beginnings

It was at Ulmer's home where Sunday's unusual activities began.

For a year, Ulmer said she was afraid to answer her front door for fear it would be Baker. On Sunday, she and her husband heard a loud noise coming from outside their home. They opened the door to find Baker throwing a briefcase onto their patio, placing a poster on their porch, a bottle of alcohol in their driveway, a bow around their mailbox and a letter addressed to Ulmer in the mailbox — a letter she did not read.

He then demanded that Ulmer provide him with a private plane by midnight so he could take his sick dog to Canada where his wife was attending a sewing conference, according to Ulmer and jail records. If she didn't do it, Baker allegedly threatened to burn her house down.

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