Husband of Slain Dallas Marketing Executive: ‘We're Devastated'

Leslie Baker leaves behind a loving family and a legacy of giving and serving others

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The husband of the beloved Dallas mother and marketing executive who was gunned down in her driveway on Memorial Day spoke to NBC 5 about his wife's murder.

Leslie Baker’s accused killer is just 16-years-old.

Hundreds of friends have rallied around the family to remember a woman known for serving others.

You’ll find purple ribbons tied around trees in the quiet Preston Hollow neighborhood.

The ribbons, much like Leslie Baker, are bold and bright.

“It almost brings me to tears when I drive by,” said Robert Baker of the kind gesture by his neighbors.

The ribbons, the hundreds of text messages and friends stopping by with flowers and cards have all helped this grieving family.

“I lost my best friend,” said Baker. “I lost the love of my life and I’m so proud to have had 30 years with her.”

Life has been a blur for Baker since Memorial Day.

“Tuesday, I had 150 phone calls. 175 texts,” he said. “We have lost track of time, lost track of days. We’re devastated.”

Baker said his focus through it all has been his children.

“I’m personally in dad-mode trying to take care of my family,” he said.

Their sudden and violent loss happening in broad daylight in the family’s driveway.

Dallas police said it was an attempted carjacking. Baker was on the phone with a friend when she was confronted and shot in her car.

“Losing Leslie is difficult,” said Baker pausing to reflect. “How it happened… losing her is devastating.”

Devastating too for their children: a marketing daughter and Aggie son who will one day be inducted into the U.S. Army.

“The tradition is the mom puts the bars on the uniform of the officer. She’s not going to be able to do that,” said Baker. “We’re going to have weddings. She’s not going to be able to do those things with our daughter that moms traditionally do. She’s not going to be able to hold our grandchildren. That’s the hardest part for me.”

 “There was nothing better than walking into a room following Leslie Baker,” he said with a smile. “Every eye would turn to this person. But everyone who knew her knew she was prettier on the inside.”

Hundreds of friends have taken to Facebook to mourn the hospital marketing executive’s loss.

 “My heart is broken,” said Cindy Brinker Simmons.

Simmons hired Baker to lead the ‘Wipe Out Kids Cancer’ charity effort 27 years ago.

“She served with great passion. She was so engaged with our families and with our kids and I marveled as I sat back and watched her interact,” said Simmons. “She served us well with compassion, with dignity and with the brilliance and excellence as her standard of living.”

Baker points to other charitable work Baker was passionate about including helping raise awareness for cystic fibrosis and fundraisers with her Kappa Kappa Gamma sisters.

Rev. Stephen Lohoefer of the Grove Church describes Baker as ‘instrumental’ in building a strong community and volunteering to distribute food and serve meals when the church was in its infancy.

“She was able to make people feel so warm and so welcomed and she never met a stranger,” he said.

Baker was a big supporter of the YMCA of Dallas. The Baker family asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made in her honor to the Y.

“The one thing she loved about the Y is that they gave scholarships for membership to families that couldn’t afford it,” recalls Baker.

Her latest philanthropic work was focused on youth.

“’Youth with Faces.’ It spells out Leslie. It was for disadvantaged youth to help them get into the restaurant, the culinary industry.”

In perhaps a cruel twist of fate, the 59-year-old’s life would be cut short, police say, by a teenager.

A boy who is just 16 years old.

Dallas police and the district attorney’s office said they cannot provide the suspect’s name or more information about the case at this time because he is a minor.

The teen faces a capital murder charge.  There is still no word on whether he’ll face charges as an adult.

Police said the suspect is connected to two other carjackings, including one in which the teen is accused of carjacking a man in Richardson the night after Baker’s murder.

Police found the teen and two other males hiding in a shed in Dallas days after the deadly shooting.

Two handguns, including the suspected murder weapon, were found in the shed, according to DPD.

The teen was being held at the Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center.

While Baker’s husband is not yet ready to talk about the case, he commends the Dallas Police Department for its work in the case and he is adamant: “My only concern is I want to make sure that this does not happen to another family.”

The Baker’s peaceful backyard has patio furniture where Baker would sit with a glass of wine.

The yard is full of flowers and has a statue of the couple’s two children playing with the family dog.

It was a Mother’s Day gift for a woman who is leaving a lasting legacy, but above all: “She was an awesome mom, a great wife and we have two unbelievable great children,” said Baker.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.

The Baker family said plans are on hold for now because of COVID-19 concerns, given hundreds if not more are expected to attend a celebration of Leslie Baker’s life.

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