With 2017 winding down the staff of the Booneville Democrat reviewed the news of the year and selected what we believe to be the five biggest stories of the year.
For the top story we settled on the shooting of Booneville Police Chief Al Brown on the morning of Wednesday, April 26, which led to him being named the Logan County Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
Brown and another BPD officer were dispatched to an apartment complex around 1:30 a.m. the morning of the shooting after a man, later identified as Gregory Rongey, 49, of Booneville, called 911 saying, “he wanted to die and wanted someone to help him,” according to published reports.
Booneville Police Lt. Rusty Lewis said the 911 call was made around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“The man told them that if police officers showed up, it wasn’t going to go well,” Lewis said. “Officers on duty called Chief Brown at home and he decided to come out and help.”
Brown and another officer were approaching the man’s door when he came around the corner with a long gun and a pistol in his hands Logan County Sheriff Boyd Hicks said at the time.
Brown then tackled Rongey and Rongey fired the pistol hitting Brown in the leg.
Officers did not return fire and Brown completed the handcuffing maneuver after being shot.
Rongey was charged with first degree battery against a law enforcement officer, a Class Y felony, and misdemeanor possession of a defaced firearm.
Brown was released from the hospital the day following the shooting but did have a subsequent surgery on his shoulder in connection with the incident.
In October he has tabbed as Logan County’s Law Enforcement of the Year at Rutledge’s 2017 Law Enforcement Summitt, held at Camp Robinson.
“Mr. Brown put his life on the line,” Booneville Mayor Jerry Wilkins said after learning of the award. “If anybody deserves it, it’s (Brown). He’s that good.”
Since the incident Rongey has undergone a psychiatric evaluation in which forensic examiners have determined Rongey had a mental disease but not a mental defect and that he had the capacity to recognize the criminality of his actions at the time of the incident.
Rongey’s next court appearance is on Jan. 5 for pretrial motions. He is set for a jury trial on Jan. 19, 22 and 23 according to court documents.
Subpoenas have already begun to be issued for the jury trial date.