Sen. Rand Paul calls it an "unfortunate event." Police are calling it assault — and many people are trying to figure out why Paul's neighbor, a fellow medical doctor, might allegedly have attacked him with enough force to fracture five ribs. Paul was reportedly tackled while he was mowing the grass at his home in Bowling Green, Ky.
Police who were called to Paul's home shortly after 3 p.m. local time on Friday say they arrested Paul's neighbor, 59-year-old Rene Boucher, and charged him with fourth-degree assault.
In a public notice on Saturday, Kentucky State Police cited Paul's "minor injury." That echoed word from Paul's office, which initially said the Republican senator was fine after being blindsided by an attacker. But by Sunday, it emerged that Paul's injuries are more serious than first thought.
In an update, Paul's senior adviser Doug Stafford sent a statement to the Bowling Green Daily News that Paul, 54, "has five rib fractures including three displaced fractures." He added, "This type of injury is caused by high velocity severe force. It is not clear exactly how soon he will return to work, as the pain is considerable as is the difficulty in getting around, including flying."
Citing Stafford, The Associated Press reports that displaced fractures such as the ones the senator suffered "can lead to life-threatening injuries."
Paul reportedly told police that Boucher tackled him from behind. But beyond that, details about how the assault occurred, and what might have motivated it, have been scarce. On Sunday, Paul said that he and his wife, Kelley, "appreciate the overwhelming support after Friday's unfortunate event. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers."
Paul and Boucher live in a neighborhood in Warren County east of Bowling Green's center, in an area where large houses sit on green lots. According to online records from the county jail, Boucher was released on a $7,500 bond on Saturday after spending nearly 24 hours in the facility. He faces a court date on Thursday.
"Warren County Attorney Amy Milliken said further charges could be brought, based on the extent of Paul's injuries," the Daily News reports.