Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

'I deserved to get shot,' Lee-Grace Dougherty tells authorities

She ran out of the wreckage with a submachine gun in her hand and, in a field a hundred yards away, Lee-Grace Dougherty spun and raised it at the officers chasing her. A local police chief shot her in the right thigh. She dropped the gun.

"I deserved to get shot," Lee-Grace, 29, later told police, according to her arrest affidavit released Thursday.

"The pain was all through my body," she said.

Lee-Grace and her brothers Ryan, 21, and Dylan, 26, led the country on an eight-day manhunt, accused of shooting at a Zephyrhills police officer Aug. 2 and then robbing a Georgia bank at gunpoint later that day. Their fugitive life ended Wednesday in the foothills of southern Colorado after they wrecked their car during a high-speed chase.

On Thursday, the trio made their first court appearance, where a Colorado magistrate set their bail at $1.25 million apiece. They wore yellow jumpsuits, signaling they are the highest risk inmates housed at the Pueblo County jail. Undersheriff J.R. Hall said by Thursday afternoon, two of the three siblings had spoken with Pasco County detectives sent to interview them.

Hall would not say if the siblings gave any indication of where they were or what they did while on the lam.

Brendon Bookman, a 45-year-old math professor in Florida, claims to be Lee-Grace's fiance. He said she called him from the jail Wednesday night.

"Please come and get me out of here," he said Lee-Grace told him.

"I can't do that," he said. But he said he would find her a lawyer and help her in any way he can. He said he told her to not say anything of her time as a fugitive because he knew the call would be recorded and it could hurt her. He said she sounded calm.

He told the Times he still loves her and plans to visit her in jail.

• • •

Multiple agencies are just beginning to sort through the legal thicket of charges facing the siblings.

Colorado authorities charged the Dougherty siblings with first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault on a peace officer.

In Pasco County, Ryan is wanted on warrants alleging grand theft of his girlfriend's Subaru Impreza — alleged to be the getaway car — and failure to register as a sexual offender. Authorities have yet to file charges in the Aug. 2 police chase in Zephyrhills. Kevin Doll, spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, said charges of attempted homicide of a law enforcement officer are likely for all three. The siblings are also wanted on federal warrants for the Georgia armed bank robbery.

Authorities across the various jurisdictions are only beginning to determine where the Doughertys might face trial first.

"All that's still up in the air," said Dave Joly, spokesman for the FBI in Colorado. "It will be determined later on."

Pueblo Sheriff Kirk Taylor would like them to stay in his jail, but he knows they might not.

"When someone takes a shot at your guys, you want to have them in your jurisdiction," Taylor said.

He said the siblings will remain in solitary cells — the brothers housed on a maximum security floor and Lee-Grace in the medical wing, as she will need continuing care for her gunshot wound. He said so far, they've been cooperative.

• • •

Ryan drove as Dylan fired at police cruisers with an AK-47 assault rifle during the 22-mile, 120 mph chase Wednesday, authorities said.

No officers were injured.

"We weren't trying to hurt anyone," Lee-Grace told investigators, according to her Colorado arrest affidavit.

"We just wanted them to get back," she said.

After the wreck, all three siblings ran from the car. Dylan gave up quickly, his belly on Interstate 25; the local sheriff holding him there with his gun drawn.

Lee-Grace was shot.

Ryan, whose girlfriend in Pasco County is due to give birth to his child at any moment, sprinted off and was caught by David Vucetich, 25, and Dave Dallaguardia, 39, both construction workers, and Shane Zibinski, 32, a boiler maker, under a bridge a half-mile away. The men didn't know each other, and they didn't know anything about the young man they were chasing — only that the cops were after him.

Ryan smelled of the nearby sewage pond. His clothes were torn, his body scratched. He looked frazzled.

Zibinski, on his cell phone, updated a dispatcher about Ryan's location.

"Keep a visual. Do not engage," the dispatcher said.

"Where you going to go?" Vucetich shouted to Ryan. "There's nowhere to go. They'll find you eventually."

"I've got to try," Ryan replied. Vucetich, a volunteer high school wrestling coach, caught up with Ryan and put him in an armbar hold. Ryan flailed, then stopped.

"I give up," he said.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy and staff writers Molly Moorhead and Jamie Klein contributed to this report. Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.


Zephyrhills police Officer Kevin Widener's name was misspelled in a previous version of this article.

'I deserved to get shot,' Lee-Grace Dougherty tells authorities 08/11/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 7:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  2. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  3. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle
  4. Death toll, humanitarian crisis grow in Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A humanitarian crisis grew Saturday in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Hurricane Maria's devastating passage across the island.

    Crew members assess electrical lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Friday in Puerto Rico. Mobile communications systems are being flown in but “it’s going to take a while.”
  5. N. Korea says strike against U.S. mainland is 'inevitable'


    North Korea's foreign minister warned Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland is "inevitable" because President Donald Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the belittling nickname "little rocketman."