Sibling fugitives from Fla. not in Nashville apt., police say
Aug 9, 2011 11:21 AM CDT
21-year-old Ryan Dougherty
29-year-old Lee Grace Dougherty
26-year-old Dylan Dougherty Stanley
Metro police and SWAT officers set up a command on the corner of Harrison Street and Fifth Avenue North.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Metro police are calling it a case of mistaken identity. Three sibling fugitives from Florida, accused of shooting at a police officer in their home state and robbing a bank in Georgia were not in a downtown Nashville apartment building Tuesday morning as officers thought they might be.
Metro police spokesperson Don Aaron said maintenance staff at the Metro Manor Apartments reported seeing a woman that resembled Lee Grace Dougherty with another person in the building on the corner of Fifth Avenue North and Charlotte Avenue Monday afternoon.
After seeing reports on the news about Dougherty and her siblings, they called police who responded to the apartment building just after 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Metro SWAT officers were called to scene and set up a command on nearby Harrison Street, two blocks north. The U.S. Marshals Task Force was also notified.
Aaron said officers were in the lobby when the woman came down to claim a package.
"She was spoken with by the police officers and was taken into custody at that point by the police officers to try to sort things out," he explained. "I can tell you that this lady very closely resembles fugitive Lee Dougherty, but it is not her."
While not Dougherty, Aaron said officers planned to search the apartment where she was staying to be sure.
"We want to make sure, doubly sure, that everything is okay, that this apartment complex is safe, and we'll be going through those efforts for the next little while," he said.
The woman questioned was staying with a friend at the apartment building and did not live there.
Aaron said the resemblance between the two women is there, and it's "certainly understandable" why maintenance staff would call them.
Maintenance staff said they saw two people at Metro Manor. Authorities have not questioned the individual seen with the woman.
Aaron said there is no reason to believe the suspects are in Nashville but the possibility exists.
"They traveled from Florida to Georgia. I think there was a reported sitting in Chattanooga. We're in the southeast, persons could easily travel here from the Atlanta or Chattanooga area in a matter of hours so I don't think any city in the southeast is immune to the potential of visiting," he said.
Authorities have been pursuing Dougherty, 29, along with her brother, 21-year-old Ryan Dougherty, and their half brother, 26-year-old Dylan Dougherty Stanley, since last Tuesday when the trio took off after firing shots at a police officer in Zephyrhills, outside of Tampa, who tried to pull them over for speeding.
At least 20 gunshots were fired at the officer's car. The officer wasn't hurt.
Hours later, three people wearing masks robbed the Certus Bank in Valdosta, Georgia, about 210 miles north.
Officials said the suspects had high-powered weapons they fired at the ceiling during the robbery.
Appearing on CBS's "The Early Show" Tuesday, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco called the siblings "extremely dangerous" and said they wouldn't be afraid to "get into a battle with law enforcement."
Over the weekend, police in Valdosta, Georgia received several leads, including separate calls saying the siblings' vehicle, a stolen white Subaru Imprezza with New York tags, was spotted near Forsyth, Georgia, and in Chattanooga.
Police suspect the siblings are carrying "an arsenal of weapons" after tracing prior background checks run by gun sellers and confirming that Ryan bought an AK-47 assault rifle at a pawn shop two years ago.
Authorities say the rifle is similar to the one used in the bank robbery.
Similar checks also show Stanley owns guns.
Authorities said all three suspects are known to abuse drugs.
Ryan is registered as a sex offender in Florida after being convicted of sending sexually explicit messages to an 11-year-old-girl.
Charges are pending against Lee Grace for a hit-and-run and she was previously charged with battery.
Stanley has previously been charged with marijuana possession.