Homer, Alaska (KINY) – On Nov. 1, 2023, Superior Court Judge Bride Seifert sentenced 62-year-old Bret Herrick to a composite sentence of 74 years with 15 years suspended for the attempted murder of Alaska State Trooper Bruce Brueggeman and related crimes.
On Aug. 23, 2021, Trooper Brueggeman tried to arrest Herrick for outstanding misdemeanor warrants on several cases when Herrick shot the trooper five to six times striking him in the arm and the torso, which was protected by a bulletproof vest. Herrick then pointed his firearm at Sergeant Daniel Cox who arrived as backup thirty seconds later. The heroic efforts of Sergeant Cox, EMS, and medical personnel, and a woman who ran out of her jeep to assist Trooper Brueggeman saved his life.
In July, Herrick was convicted by a Homer jury of all counts after a seven-day jury trial.
At sentencing yesterday, Judge Seifert heard from Trooper Justin Hillario who testified about Herrick’s similar conduct in other cases of refusing to follow court orders not to possess weapons and of resisting law enforcement. Herrick also had prior convictions in 2012 for assaulting two other Troopers who were trying to arrest him on a warrant outside the same Anchor Point store. The court also heard from Sergeant Cox who saw his fellow Trooper and friend almost die and a gun pointed at him. Trooper Brueggeman told the Judge about his long career in law enforcement and how he dreamed of moving to Alaska after spending time in the military here. He also said he intends to continue to serve the people of Alaska as a Trooper.
Judge Seifert sentenced Herrick to 65 years with 15 years suspended followed by 10 years of probation for Attempted Murder. He was sentenced to three years of consecutive time for Assault in the Third Degree for pointing his firearm at Sergeant Cox. Herrick was also sentenced to five years of consecutive time for Escape, one year of consecutive time for Resisting Arrest, and 90 days consecutive time for each of two counts of violating conditions of release by possessing weapons in violation of his bail conditions. Judge Seifert noted that the primary sentencing consideration was isolation to protect the public. The jury found an aggravating factor, that the crimes were directed at law enforcement officers acting in performance of their duties. The Court found additional aggravating factors because Herrick engaged in similar conduct in the past and because he had five prior misdemeanor convictions. The aggravating factors allowed the court to give a higher sentence. Assistant District Attorney Jon Iannaccone represented the State at trial and sentencing.