Charging documents offer more insight into the shooting of a trooper in Anchor Point

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 12:41 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Following the almost day-long manhunt of an Anchor Point resident who faces charges for allegedly shooting an Alaska State Trooper, the Kenai District Attorney’s Office prepares its case against 60-year-old Bret Herrick.

On Tuesday, a criminal complaint was submitted to the Alaska Trials Court that said Herrick is being charged with first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault for allegedly attempting to fatally harm Trooper Bruce Brueggeman in Anchor Point on Monday afternoon.

An affidavit, included with the complaint, provides more details on the situation leading up to the shooting and Herrick’s subsequent arrest.

On Monday around 1 p.m., Sgt. Daniel Cox attempted to locate Herrick, who had been seen at the Warehouse general store on Sterling Highway in Anchor Point. Brueggeman was on duty in the area and drove to the store to provide backup for Cox.

The affidavit said Herrick had multiple outstanding warrants to his name. Previous open cases show that he had charges of reckless endangerment, four counts of violating conditions of release, resisting or interfering arrest by force and two counts of disorderly conduct under his name.

Herrick is considered armed and dangerous.
Herrick is considered armed and dangerous.(Photo Courtesy Alaska Department of Public Safety)

Upon Brueggeman’s arrival, he saw Herrick outside the store. The affidavit said security video at the store, dashcam footage from the trooper vehicle and an interview with Brueggeman detailed the events of the shooting.

Brueggeman approached Herrick, who was walking away from the trooper, and told him to stop. As Brueggeman tried to catch up with his suspect, Herrick allegedly pulled out a semi-automatic pistol, fired five times at the trooper and ran away with his weapon on hand.

The trooper was struck on his ballistic vest, around his lower back, and one bullet hit his left arm. His arm sustained “significant injury” causing bleeding, but a tourniquet managed to lessen his blood loss, according to the affidavit.

Brueggeman said that his service weapon malfunctioned during the shooting, but he managed to fire one bullet.

Sgt. Cox and paramedics arrived moments after the shooting. The affidavit said Brueggeman was transported by ambulance to Homer where he was then airlifted to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

As of Wednesday morning, Brueggeman is in “fair condition” and continues to recover, according to Austin McDaniel, a public information officer with the agency. The affidavit said he had multiple surgeries to repair his gunshot wound, and noted that he sustained a rib fracture from the incident.

Following the shooting, Alaska State Troopers obtained a search warrant for Herrick’s residence in Anchor Point. He was nowhere to be found, but they located four boxes of .45 ammunition during the search, the affidavit said.

The trooper manhunt for Herrick throughout the Anchor Point area lasted from Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning. The agency said in an online dispatch that residents provided a useful tip that helped locate Herrick that morning.

Around 8:39 a.m. on Tuesday, the affidavit said a trooper monitoring Herrick’s home spotted him nearby. The agency’s Special Emergency Reaction Team immediately arrested him without incident.

Troopers said they allegedly found a .45 handgun — loaded with a round in the chamber and loaded magazine — one empty .45 magazine and one loaded magazine on Herrick’s person. The affidavit also noted that Herrick was wearing clothing that matched surveillance footage from the shooting.

After being arrested, the affidavit said Herrick was transported to the Homer Police Department to be interviewed. During the interview, he allegedly told investigators that “he didn’t know why the state trooper told him to stop” and asked if the trooper was “OK.”

Herrick was subsequently charged with first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault.

Online court records show Herrick had four other open criminal cases from October 2020 through this July, for charges ranging from reckless endangerment and resisting arrest to violating conditions of release.

In 2013, Herrick accepted a plea deal in a case in which he was accused of kidnapping, armed assault and robbery. At that time, he pleaded guilty to charges of resisting arrest and fourth-degree assault.

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