A former Baden Borough Police Officer ended his own life earlier this month in front of his one-time colleagues, shooting himself in the chest with another officer’s handgun.
As a result of an Open Records Request, the Beaver Countian obtained incident reports from Baden Borough Police detailing moments leading up to the death of Mark Ellis Grant. The Beaver Countian also interviewed several law enforcement sources about the incident, and spoke to several others who knew Mark Grant and those involved.
It was 11:00am on September 8th, when Baden Officer Gary Quinn received a call from Haley Grant, the wife of former Baden Officer Mark Grant. She asked Quinn to accompany her to their home on Philips Street in Baden, so that she could gather her belongings. Haley told the officer she was moving out because Mark was suicidal.
Several people who knew Mark Grant told the Beaver Countian he was beginning to turn his life around. His career as a police officer had effectively ended in December of 2009, when he provided information from the state’s justice network (JNET) to a man named Greg Baker. Baker had told then Officer Grant that he received a mysterious call, and he had concerns about the safety of his estranged wife Linda Baker. But rather than using the information Officer Grant gave him to help his wife, it was instead the beginning of a series of events that led to Greg Baker shooting the woman and killing an acquaintance of hers. Baker had mistakenly believed the two were romantically involved. Officer Grant, who had nothing to do with the homicide, was later charged with violating state laws governing the use of JNET for giving the confidential information to Greg Baker.
Mark’s friends say even though his career in law enforcement was over, he was enjoying his job at Heritage Valley Sewickley, and had started a side business detailing cars for extra money.
Officer Quinn arrived at the home about fifteen minutes after receiving the call from Haley Grant, who showed up a short time after that. The locks on the door had been changed, so Officer Quinn contacted Mark’s best friend, Brandon Szuchy, who lived nextdoor. Szuchy got a hold of Grant, who had been held up in the apartment all along.
Mark Grant let Officer Quinn and his wife into the home, where she gathered her clothes and sundry items and placed them outside without incident. Officer Quinn asked Mark to wait over at Brandon Szuchy’s house until his wife loaded up her belongings and left. Mark followed Brandon over to his garage.
Officer Quinn encouraged Haley to finish putting her items into the car and move along. When he turned back around, he noticed Mark and Brandon were no longer by the garage.
“I walked down to the driveway and couldn’t see them by the buildings,” wrote Officer Quinn. “I then went up past the [apartment] and to the end of the walkway to look behind the garage. No one was there.”
Unbeknownst to the officer, Mark had walked into Brandon’s garage, where he kept his car parked. “There goes my life,” Mark told his friend as he leaned against his Chevy Blazer.
“I turned around and saw Mark Grant ten feet away,” continued Officer Quinn in his report.
Neither Officer Quinn nor Brandon Szuchy could make out what Mark said to Haley when he approached, but they both heard the crack of the handgun.
“Mark turned around and fell down on his back,” continued Officer Quinn in his incident report. “I saw him drop a hand gun and he fell on it. I saw a hole in his shirt where his heart was located.”
Haley Grant and her friends began to scream. Officer Quinn and Haley started administering first aid to Mark, officers from neighboring departments began to arrive, as did paramedics. Mark Grant’s injury, a single shot to his heart, was fatal.
While still at the scene, Haley Grant began telling Baden Officer Derek Shipley that the bookbag Mark had with him at the time he shot himself belonged to her, and she wanted it back. Officers instead took the bookbag into evidence — an inventory taken at the Baden Police Department showed it to contain Mark’s wallet, his personal identification, credit cards and insurance cards, several gift cards, $870 in cash, and a ring box with a diamond ring and silver wedding band inside.
Officers would later return those belongings to Mark Grant’s mother.
Rochester Township Officer Richard Hacker, a good friend of Mark’s, arrived on scene and was interviewed by Officer Shipley. Hacker told Shipley that Mark had called him earlier that same morning about problems in his marriage — that his wife confessed she had been cheating on him. Officer Hacker said he went over to Mark’s house at around 2:00am to talk.
Hacker said Mark noticed he parked his truck a little bit crooked in front of the apartment, and wanted to move it so none of his neighbors would complain. He got into Hacker’s truck and straightened it out. Mark had detailed the vehicle on several occasions, and because of that knew his friend kept a Springfield Armory XD-40 between the seat and the console.
“Hacker states the last time he remembered seeing the gun was [approximately] last week at some point,” wrote Officer Shipley in his report, “but this morning would have been the only time Grant could have had access to the gun.”
Officer Hacker didn’t actually see his friend take the handgun that morning, but it proved to be the weapon Mark Ellis Grant pointed at himself just hours later.