News Release

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Trooper Shaun Little
Public Affairs Officer
Kentucky State Police
Post 9, Pikeville
(606) 433-7711
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Trooper Shaun Little

Fire Being Investigated as a Hate Crime

Date of News Release: 03/08/2005

(Pikeville, KY) - On February 12, 2005 at approximately 215 AM Kentucky State Police Post 9 received a call of a fire at Red Creek, Ky in Pike County.

Trooper Derek Sturgill responded to the scene and discovered that someone had placed a jar containing a flammable liquid in front of the victims apartment door. The subject then ignited the liquid. The residence sustained external damage before being extinguished by the residents of the apartment. The residents of the apartment were Quinton Collins (22 years of age), Curtis Ellison (21 years of age) and Michael Sheppard (22 years of age). The three African American victims were students at Pikeville College.

The investigation revealed that this crime was racially motivated, causing this case to be handled as a possible hate crime. After the three week investigation, working with the Pike County Commonwealths Attorney Office and the FBI, Trooper Derek Sturgill presented the case to the Pike County Grand Jury. On March 8, 2005 a Pike County Indictment Warrant was issued for the arrest of Bobby Gibson Jr, 33 years of age of Red Creek, KY. At 3:00 pm on March 8, 2005 Trooper Sturgill and Trooper Jason Merlo arrested Gibson and lodged him in the Pike County Detention Center on charges of Arson 1st degree.

This incident remains under investigation by Kentucky State Police Trooper Derek Sturgill.

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