Police Investigating Shooting In Harlan County

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

One man is shot after police say he and others were trying to steal bootlegged beer. Police say the 73 year old bootlegger ended up chasing the group but he says he never meant to shoot anyone.

Police say four people approached Paul Rogers' home Saturday afternoon and purchased bootlegged beer. Later that night, police say Gil Smith and Amanda Reddington returned to the home and distracted Rogers while Letch Riddle and Rusty Hayes stole beer from Rogers' pick up truck.

"It was around 10:30, a little after 10:30 last night. I got a call from dispatch that my officer needed assistance going on a shooting," said Evarts Police Chief Lupe Blas.

After suspecting that the four had stolen some of his bootlegged beer, Rogers got in his pick up truck and followed them to this location. He then approached their vehicle with a gun.

"His exact words were that he "tapped" Mr. Riddle on the side of the head with the gun went off. From the bruising and the evidence we obtained, we could see that he slapped, actually hit him with pistol and the gun did go off," said Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird.

Police say Rogers then attempted to take Riddle to the hospital after noticing the gun fired but before long, police arrived on the scene.

"We were there so soon, so quick that witnesses were still around. That really helped out," Lupe said.

After the incident, police say Hayes, Smith, and Reddington denied stealing any alcohol from Rogers' residence.

"During the process of processing the car where the victim was at, we did find a 30 pack of bush beer in the trunk of the vehicle," Marvin said.

Rogers is in custody in the Harlan County Detention Center.

Police say Riddle's injuries are not life threatening.

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