By ASSOCIATED PRESS
In June, when Sen. Rand Paul was with congressional colleagues near Washington, practicing his baseball swing, he escaped injury when a gunman opened fire. On Friday, when Paul was mowing the lawn of his Bowling Green home, he wasn’t as lucky, sustaining five broken ribs and small cuts to the nose and mouth when a man tackled him.
The attack also left him with labored breathing, according to NBC News, citing the criminal complaint filed after the incident.
Doug Stafford, a senior advisor to Paul, told the Associated Press on Sunday that Paul was in considerable pain and has difficulty getting around, including flying. Stafford said Paul has five broken ribs, including three displaced fractures, which can lead to life-threatening injuries. The pain can last for weeks or months.
Rene Albert Boucher, 59, was arrested and charged with one count of fourth-degree assault of the Republican congressman. Boucher was released Saturday night on a $7,500 bond, according to the Warren County Jail website.
Boucher, a neighbor of Paul’s, admitted to tackling Paul, NBC News reported. The FBI was also involved in the investigation along with Kentucky State Police.
Boucher is a retired physician, according to the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, and the inventor of the Therm-a-Vest, a cloth vest partially filled with rice and secured with Velcro straps that is designed to relieve back pain, according to the Bowling Green Daily News.
Robert Porter, who has known Paul and his family for more than two decades, told The Washington Post he went to see Paul on Saturday evening.
“He’s in some pain, but he’s going to be fine,” Porter told the newspaper. Porter said Paul’s return to Washington will be a “game-time decision” but that Paul is planning to return to work at some point in the coming days.
Following the report of the assault, Kelsey Cooper, a spokesman for Paul, said in a statement: “Sen. Paul was blindsided and the victim of an assault. The assailant was arrested and it is now a matter for the police. Sen. Paul is fine.”
Paul tweeted Sunday morning, thanking people for their thoughts and prayers.
Boucher is a registered Democrat, according to Kentucky State Board of Elections records. However, a motive for the attack on Paul remains unclear.
Boucher’s court date will be Thursday, according to Warren County Jail records. Fourth-degree assault is a Class A misdemeanor in Kentucky, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Paul, 54, has served in the Senate representing Kentucky since 2011, serving with Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. He is an ophthalmologist who has practiced in Bowling Green. He unsuccessfully ran for president in 2016 and is the son of Ron Paul, a former U.S. representative from Texas.