Statement released on behalf of Potter County Justice of the Peace Rich Herman
Last week, Herman was involved in a shooting incident that left him wounded. Questions about the incident have surfaced, since Herman did not report that he had been shot to the police.
"This is a statement on behalf of Judge Richard Herman. This is a little hard for him at this time. The other day he was attacked while trying to rescue someone who was under threat. Since that time his actions have come under scrutiny and questions because of how some think he was slow to report this incident.
"Let me reaffirm he is someone who protects the law, he believes in the law and holds it dear to his heart. The incident that occurred the other day shook him to his core creating some type of acute stress reaction and that it is because the instant it happened he was immediately thrust back into PTSD.
"For those of you that have been in combat protecting, or have a family member who has served our country we know the circumstances all too well. When he went into PTSD mode he immediately went home because when you have PTSD you don't know what will happen.
"So to protect innocent bystanders as well as his family and his self he went home where he felt safe and began to use his skills from many years of service to dress the wound.
"He was not trying to hide anything nor does he want to he would like these individuals to be found so that they do not harm another person or shoot at another person. The law must be up held and he would like these criminals to face justice.
"Anyone who knows him understands his love for our community and that he cherishes your trust as well as the seat that he serves and he would never ever jeopardize it. He appreciates the continued prayers and support as he goes through PTSD treatment starting in the weeks ahead. He also wants to say that he is truly sorry to those that do not understand how unpredictable PTSD can be, and he asks you to forgive him. Thank you and God bless you all," Leggett said.
On 3-27-17, a Special Crimes Unit investigator was contacted by a detective from a law enforcement agency in another state. That detective had received information from a witness that a Potter County Justice of the Peace Rich Herman of Amarillo had posted photos of himself on social media treating a wound after being shot.
In the photos, Herman was holding a white cloth with red stains on it against his shoulder. Herman commented with the photos that he had been shot in the shoulder and was treating the injury himself.
The witness contacted law enforcement because they were concerned that this was evidence of a crime. A SCU investigator viewed the photographs and recognized Potter County Justice of the Peace Richard Herman.
On 3-28-17, the investigator made contact with Judge Herman. Herman confirmed that the photographs were of him and that he had been shot. He had not wished to make a police report.
Herman told the investigator that at around midnight Sunday night/Monday morning, he was walking in an area believed to be near 6th and S. Louisiana. He saw two males assaulting a third male in the alley just west of a bar and stopped to intervene.
During the incident, Herman heard a shot and realized that he had been shot in the shoulder. Herman said the three men fled down the alley.
Herman was not able to determine the source of the gunshot and could not provide a description of the three individuals.
"When he stepped in to intervene he heard a gunshot and at that point realized he had been shot.
"The three people in the alley, according to him, left in different direction. He didn't have any information on who these people were and couldn't, at the time, offer a description of what the people looked like.
"It's been brought up there is a penal code statute that people who have knowledge of a felony should report it. That decision whether or not it would apply in this case would lie wholly with the prosecutor who reviewed the case," Amarillo Police Sgt. Brent Barbee said.
Amarillo police detectives have been assigned to the case. There have been no arrests.
Potter County Attorney Scott Brumley said his office is not currently investigating Herman,
"Quite frankly we haven't had a situation where we've been presented with credible evidence that would require us to proceed on it. We are waiting to see what comes up in this case and where that leads us, that's where we will go.
"There are certainly a lot of questions about the case that need to be resolved given the profile of the person involved as well as the seriousness of what happened.
"Anytime someone is shot, that's a serious matter that needs to be thoroughly investigated in order to see what, if any, crime as been committed and how that needs to be handled through the criminal justice system," Brumley said.