Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:31 PM on Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Suspect charged with 7 felonies

Homer man escapes armed kidnapper; suspect still at large

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

A Homer man escaped an armed kidnapping on Aug. 3 after being forced to withdraw money from an ATM, Alaska State Troopers said in a criminal complaint filed in Homer Court last week.

Troopers allege Bret Herrick, 51, threatened Kyle Hock, 18, with an assault rifle, forced him out of his East Skyline Drive home and into Herrick's truck, and then drove him to the Wells Fargo and made him withdraw $250.

Hock got away from Herrick after he threw most of the money in Herrick's face, distracting him enough for Hock to run away.

Troopers charged Herrick with kidnapping, four counts of third-degree assault, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, all felonies, and third-degree theft.

A warrant has been issued for Herrick but as of Wednesday morning he had not been arrested.

Herrick is described as having a shaved head and driving a gray 1994 Ford pickup truck, license plate 6868 DA. Troopers said Herrick is mentally unstable and involved in narcotics and believed to always carry a weapon.

Anyone seeing Herrick should call 911 but not attempt to contact him or approach him, said trooper spokesperson Megan Peters. Tips also can be called in confidentially to Kenai Peninsula Crime Stoppers at (800) 478-4258.

Troopers are actively seeking Herrick, but must weigh the safety of the public and troopers in trying to arrest him, she said. Peters pointed to the March 2006 Homer Airport shooting as an example of why troopers are cautious in apprehending a wanted subject known to be heavily armed.

In the airport shooting, wanted suspect Jason Anderson shot his son in the head and then killed himself after U.S. Marshals and Homer Police surrounded Anderson's rental Jeep in the parking lot. Anderson's children were with him in the car. Troopers had strict orders not to approach Anderson unless they knew he was not with his children.

According to the Herrick complaint, Hock called 911 at about 6 p.m. Aug. 3 from the area of Wells Fargo. Hock said earlier that night he had been on the back deck of his East Skyline Drive home with Kimberly Payne when he saw Herrick drive by in his truck and glare at them. Wearing black clothing and a black trench coat, Herrick came through the unlocked front door of the house and to the deck and carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, the civilian version of the military M-16 rifle, with a large-capacity drum magazine. Herrick asked them if they were "Daryl" or "Trish." Another man, Patrick Delumeau, came out of the house when he heard Payne's dog barking. Delumeau said he recognized Herrick.

Herrick said "Trish" owed him $250. Hock said he had the money. Herrick said, "It was not the money. It was the principle," troopers allege. Herrick grabbed Hock and forced him into the truck. Herrick put the rifle in the back and took out a black handgun from his belt, pointing it at Hock while driving to town. Herrick allegedly told Hock "You're the first to die if your friends called the cops." Herrick also thought a truck driving behind followed too closely and told Hock to call the driver and tell him to back off or he would shoot Hock in the head, troopers allege. Hock said he didn't know the driver.

At Wells Fargo, Hock got out of the truck to take the money from the ATM. He told troopers that when he got back in the truck he saw his cell phone on the seat, grabbed it, threw money at Herrick, and ducked and ran away. Herrick took off.

Hock wasn't injured in the robbery and kidnapping. Relatives of Hock said he and Delumeau have left Homer for their safety.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.