Commonwealth Journal


September 26, 2012

Police nail suspect in hammer attack

Arrest of Herbie Dugger ends manhunt

Somerset — A Somerset man who allegedly attacked two victims on Monday with a hammer and then fled on foot from the scene was arrested by law enforcement officials.

Herbert “Herbie” Dugger, Jr., 34, was arrested early Wednesday morning, putting to an end a more than 24-hour search for the suspect.

The Somerset Police Department responded to a report of an apparent assault early Monday evening that took place at a residence on Crane Street.

Once officers arrived on the scene, they discovered Kristen McWain, age 38, and a male juvenile

suffering from wounds sustained during the alleged assault.  

Lt. Shannon Smith, with SPD, said McWain suffered from a laceration to the head in the attack.

Smith said the male juvenile “was actually able to fight back in protection of McWain,” which caused the suspect to then attack the juvenile.

Smith said both victims told officers the suspect, identified as Dugger, had attacked them with a hammer, and Smith said McWain’s injuries were consistent with their statements. Smith said the juvenile, a teenager, suffered some abrasions from the hammer and from the perpetrator’s fists.

Dugger, who Smith said appears to be McWain’s boyfriend, allegedly fled the scene on foot after the apparent assault.

Officers searched several areas in an attempt to locate Dugger, but he was not found.

McWain and the juvenile were treated at the scene and transported to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital by Somerset-Pulaski County EMS. They were later released from the hospital.

Smith said Dugger checked into the emergency room at LCRH later Monday night for an unknown medical problem, and he was admitted into the hospital’s intensive care unit.

“At about 8:45 a.m. (Tuesday), officers received a 911 call from hospital staff

saying Dugger was attempting to flee, but when officers arrived Dugger had already

managed to get away,” Smith stated in a press release.

A traffic stop conducted by SPD Officer Billy Bolin at around 12:15 a.m. Wednesday led to Dugger’s arrest.

Bolin stopped an SUV on Hillview Avenue in Somerset after he noticed it was being operated in an apparently suspicious manner.

Dugger, who had been considered armed and dangerous by SPD, allegedly fled from the SUV and was later found hiding under a semi-trailer on the Southern Belle Dairy lot off of Bourne Avenue.

Dugger was located with the help of Officer Joe Criswell and the K9 unit Aras, Smith said.

Dugger was arrested after an alleged struggle with the officers on the scene, and officers reportedly found items in the SUV that were used in manufacturing methamphetamine.

Smith said the officers did not find a gun in the SUV or on Dugger, but he did say Dugger “put up a little bit of a fight when officers tried to arrest him.”

Dugger was lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center and charged with second-degree assault, manufacturing methamphetamine, and resisting arrest.

Officers also charged Dugger with being in violation of a city ordinance against prowling.

Additional charges are expected and the investigation continues by Officer Randall Smith.

Dugger appears to have a history of violence. He was convicted in 1995, at age 17, of manslaughter in the death of Joe Franklin Bryant, 36, who was shot and killed.

That history, along with pieces of information officers received that indicated Dugger may have had a weapon on him, ensured that officers used the utmost caution in searching for the suspect.

“It’s not uncommon for law enforcement to hear that (the suspect may be armed and dangerous) on someone wanted for a violent crime, and it doesn’t always turn out that way,” Smith said. “But we always use extreme caution in this situation to make sure no one gets hurt.”

Smith said the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department has assisted in the case.


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