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'Dougherty Gang' arrested in Colorado after chase, shootout

9:23 PM, Aug 10, 2011   |    comments
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Described by the FBI as the "baddest of the bad," the three siblings, 21-year-old Ryan Edward Dougherty, 26-year-old Dylan Dougherty Stanley and 29-year-old Lee Grace Dougherty, were taken into custody after a high-speed chase that ended in a crash Wednesday near Walsenburg.

Canyon City Mayor Tony Greer says Dylan Dougherty tried to buy ammunition for an AK-47 at the local Walmart on Tuesday afternoon. The clerk told him he couldn't buy the ammunition that day at Walmart, but could get it at another store in town. On Wednesday morning, Greer says the employee recognized Dylan Dougherty on a news report and contacted authorities.

"He saw the media alert, put two and two together, called our local police force and said 'Hey, these guys were in our store,'" Greer said.

Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor says later Wednesday morning the small white vehicle the siblings were last spotted in was seen at a gas station in Colorado City near Interstate 25 and mile marker 74. The deputy who spotted the siblings was in an unmarked car and began following them as they left the gas station, radioing for backup from the Colorado State Patrol.

A high-speed chase began at 9:36 a.m.

Taylor says the more-than-20-mile chase ended on Interstate 25 near Walsenburg at 9:43 a.m. Taylor says speeds were over 100 mph at times, and shots were fired by the trio at authorities while driving.

Colorado State troopers deployed stop sticks at mile marker 52.

Deputies say the siblings were traveling so fast as they ran over the stop sticks and then drove off the side of the road, hitting a guardrail and flipping their car. Lee Grace Dougherty then reportedly got out of the car and began shooting at authorities. They say she was shot in the leg by authorities, but her injury is not life threatening.

No officers were injured in the shootout.

The siblings were all taken to Spanish Peak Regional Health Center to be treated for injuries from the crash. They were treated and then taken to the Pueblo County Jail around 6 p.m.

According to the Pueblo Sheriff's Department, one of the men and Lee Grace Dougherty were arrested by Huerfano County Sheriff's Deputies and Walsenburg Police Department Officers after the shootout. One of the men fled the scene on foot but was captured by Colorado State Partol at a nearby hotel.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, southbound I-25 was closed from Pueblo to Walsenburg because of the police activity and clean up of debris on the road. The highway did not fully reopen until just before 8 p.m.

FBI spokesperson Dave Joly says they received tips from the community about the Dougherty Gang.

"Without the media and the help of the community, it would've been hard for us to solve this quickly," Joly said. "They were extremely dangerous. They've engaged law enforcement multiple times with weapons fire, and we and State Patrol took fire [Wednesday] on I-25. They're the baddest of the bad."

"Ladies and gentleman, I'm proud to say we won," Pasco County, Fla., Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a news conference following their capture. "We continuously said that if these three fugitives wanted a battle with law enforcement, we would win that battle. And that's what happened today."

He called the siblings "very, very dangerous people" and their capture a tremendous relief.

"It's uncommon that we would come across these three siblings who would have an arsenal and [are] not afraid to use it," he said.

Some of Nocco's deputies were expected to fly to Colorado on Wednesday night to interview the trio.

Lee Grace Dougherty's fiancé: 'She was fiercely loyal to her family'

Lee Grace, Dougherty 29, was engaged to marry Brendon Bookman. He told 9Wants to Know he doesn't know why she took off with her brothers, but thinks it was because she was trying to protect them, as the oldest sibling.

"She was fiercely loyal to her family," Bookman told 9NEWS. "She cared more about helping her family than helping herself."

Bookman says he offered to get his fiancée a private attorney to fight hit-and-run charges that she's facing in court. Instead, Lee Grace Dougherty said she'd use a public defender if he would agree to hire her brothers instead to work around his house.

He said the siblings purchased their guns legally over the past few years.

The brothers and sister were raised by their mother Barbara Bell after their father died of Marfan Syndrome, which scholars have debated that President Abraham Lincoln may have had. The siblings eldest sister, Erin, also died from the illness when she was 21-years-old, according to Bookman.

Bookman told 9NEWS he wants Lee Grace Doughtery to know that whatever happens to her now, he enjoyed the time he spent with her and says she enriched his life.

Bell told 9NEWS' sister station WTSP she's "glad [her children] were found."

'Dougherty Gang' first spotted in Colo. on Tuesday

Colorado Springs Police Sgt. Steven Noblitt the Dougherty siblings were possibly spotted Tuesday in a small white vehicle near with the stolen Texas license plate LCS 909. The Doughertys were previously seen in a white sedan.

Joly said the FBI has received "credible information" that people matching the description of three siblings connected to crimes in Florida and Georgia were spotted Tuesday afternoon possibly buying camping equipment in Colorado Springs near Interstate 25 and Woodmen Road.

The possible sighting north of downtown Colorado Springs was reported around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported the possible sighting Tuesday was called in by a customer in the parking lot of an REI store. REI spokeswoman Libby Catalinich told The Associated Press only that the company was contacted by law-enforcement officials. She declined further comment.

A nationwide manhunt for the siblings began Aug. 2. The three are suspected of firing at least 20 shots at a Florida officer who tried to pull them over for speeding in a chase at speeds up to 100 mph.

Hours later, three people wearing masks robbed a bank in Valdosta, Ga., about 210 miles north. One robber brandished an AK-47 assault rifle while another was photographed by a security camera waving a machine pistol, the FBI said.

Nocco said Ryan Dougherty sent a cryptic text message to his mother while on the run.

"He's actually texted her in the past several days saying at one point 'we all have to die,'" Nocco said. "We know they have an arsenal of weapons."

Nocco said investigators found an elaborate underground bunker at the house where the trio lived.

All three siblings have a troubled past. Ryan Dougherty is a convicted sex offender, recently found guilty of sending explicit text messages to an 11-year-old girl. Lee Grace Dougherty was recently charged with battery and hit and run, and posted online she "loves to shoot guys and wreck cars." Dylan Dougherty has been charged with marijuana possession.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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