Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 12:29 PM on Monday, December 10, 2012

Troopers arrest kidnapping suspect

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

A chance encounter at the Anchor Point Grocery Store by an Alaska State Trooper with a suspect wanted for kidnapping, armed assault, robbery and burglary led to the suspect's arrest last Friday. Troopers took Bret Herrick, 53, into custody after a brief scuffle.

Herrick had been indicted by a Kenai grand jury in September on charges of kidnapping, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, four counts of third-degree assault and third-degree theft. On Aug. 3, Herrick was alleged to have kidnapped a Homer man at gunpoint, took the man into Herrick's truck, and driven him to a bank where he forced the man to withdraw money from an ATM. The man escaped after distracting Herrick by throwing money at him. Herrick was alleged to have entered the man's East Skyline Drive home carrying an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle with a large-capacity drum magazine.

Herrick had been on the loose since then. Troopers said earlier they had to weigh the safety of the public and troopers in trying to make an arrest and had to be cautious when approaching a suspect known to be armed and dangerous.

In Friday's arrest of Herrick, Trooper Daniel Brom had stopped to get a snack at the grocery store on the Old Sterling Highway — several blocks from the Anchor Point Trooper Post — at about 10:24 p.m. Dec. 7. Brom parked in his marked patrol car next to a 1992 Chevrolet utility truck. Brom noticed a bald man in the passenger seat look over and pull up a collar to hide his face.

"Which isn't suspicious at all," said trooper spokesperson Megan Peters, being ironic.

Herrick was known to have a shaved head and reported to be armed and extremely dangerous. In his criminal complaint, Brom wrote that he checked the license of the truck and found it was registered to a man thought to be an acquaintance of Herrick. When the man got out of the truck and went into the liquor store next to the grocery store in the same building, Brom identified the man as Herrick.

Brom called for back up, and Sgt. Jeremy Stone, who had been nearby, quickly arrived, Peters said. The troopers approached the front door of the liquor store. Brom said he saw Herrick wearing a bullet proof vest, but that Herrick took the vest off as he came rushing out of the store.

Herrick walked quickly with his fists balled toward the troopers. Both troopers had their guns drawn, but switched to Tasers when they saw Herrick did not hold a weapon, Peters said. Herrick shouted obscenities at the troopers and raised his hands at them. Herrick wouldn't obey commands to place his hands behind his back, Brom wrote, and tried to pull away when they tried to handcuff him.

When the troopers had Herrick on the ground with his hands beneath him and Brom tried to pull Herrick's hands out, he said Herrick told him, "You're going to have to work for them!"

Brom and Stone eventually got Herrick handcuffed. Neither trooper reported being injured in the scuffle, Peters said.

Troopers found a knife, bullets and two handgun magazines on Herrick.

Troopers added new charges of resisting arrest and two counts of fourth-degree assault. Herrick was arraigned on those charges, all misdemeanors, on Saturday. He was to be taken to Wildwood Pretrial Facility in Kenai on Monday and faces a court hearing on Tuesday for the felony charges. No bail has been set for Herrick.

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