WURTLAND Roar Cemetery Road is single-lane paved path offshoot from State Route 503 in Wurtland.
At the top of a hill, it would be easy to miss. Four houses sit along it — five if one counts the abandoned one overtaken by overgrowth. A cemetery is at the end, where the road turns from pavement to mud and gravel.
Curtis Bailey, a resident along the road, said the neighborhood is typically quiet. Standing at the front door Tuesday morning, Bailey fiddled around with a light socket in his hand as he recalled what happened when he awoke from a nap Monday afternoon.
“All hell broke loose out here. There were cops everywhere,” Bailey said. “I was just glad it wasn’t me.”
Around 5 p.m. Monday, 61-year-old Michael Meade called Greenup County dispatch to report he’d been shot in the face by 59-year-old Herman David Bays, according to KSP. The house was less than a football field away from where Bailey stood.
“I have no idea how I didn’t hear the shot, as close as we are,” Bailey said.
An arrest citation states Bays fired the gun as the victim opened the front door.
Trooper Bobby King said the victim proceeded to walk into the house and dial 911. He was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Huntington for observation after sustaining non-life-threatening injuries, according to King.
“He basically took shrapnel to the face,” King said.
At no point was the victim held hostage by Bays, King confirmed.
State troopers descended onto the road, parking along the shoulder and in neighbors' driveways. Troopers brandished rifles as they walked over the hill to where authorities say Bays was holed up. An ambulance was parked on standby across Rt. 503.
After a six-and-a-half-hour standoff, King said Bays turned himself in to authorities. However, he said there was still a woman inside the house, the trooper said. King said the state police’s Special Response Team fired a rubber bullet through the window to coax her out.
“We tried to call her out, but she wouldn’t answer,” King said. “Typically when you have a situation where someone isn’t responding, like say under a blanket on a couch, we’ll fire a rubber bullet at them to see if they’ll move.”
In this case, there was no woman holed up in the home, King said.
“The guy has some issues,” King said.
Clydie Porter, another neighbor, lives directly in front of the scene of the standoff. She and Bailey both confirmed Bays had been sick for a while.
“He’d been real sick and talking out of his head lately,” Porter said. “They (Bays and Meade) were good friends. Mike had been taking care of him for a while down there. I wouldn’t be surprised if he just thought somebody was coming after him or something.”
Bays has been charged in Greenup County with first-degree assault, a class B felony carrying with it between 10 and 20 years in prison. A check of his record at the Greenup County Circuit Clerk’s Office revealed Bays incurred three misdemeanors in the early 2000s, including a DUI, public intoxication and marijuana trafficking.
KSP said the shooting is still under investigation by Det. Daniel Cook. KSP was also assisted by the Greenup County Sheriff’s Department, Greenup Police Department and Greenup County EMS.
Bays is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday in Greenup County District Court.
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