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Dungan pleads guilty in shooting of deputy

Dungan will be sentenced in February

By Eugenia Jones

Mark Dungan, the man indicted for the shooting of McCreary County Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Watkins, appeared in Circuit Court on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 in front of Circuit Court Judge Dan Ballou and avoided a trial by pleading guilty through a plea agreement with the Commonwealth.

Dungan was initially charged with seven counts including six felonies:  Attempted Murder (Police Officer), Tampering with Physical Evidence, Criminal Mischief (1st degree), Convicted Felon in Possession of a Handgun, Fleeing or Evading Police (1st degree), Wanton Endangerment (1st Degree-Police Officer), and Resisting Arrest.  

Dungan entered his guilty plea with only one amendment to the original charges.    The sole amendment was in amending the initial charge of Attempted Murder (Police Officer) to Assault (2nd Degree.)

Dungan is scheduled to be sentenced with an expected sentence of 40 (forty) years in prison by the Hon. Judge Dan Ballou on February 28, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.  However, due to statute, time served for the charges cannot exceed twenty years.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Ron Bowling is glad justice was served.

“I’m glad to see justice served to someone brazen enough to shoot at police officers,” Bowling said.

McCreary County Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Watkins was shot on July 19, 2019 as he responded to a residence on Lick Creek Road to conduct a status check on an individual.  When Watkins arrived at the scene, he saw Dungan sitting in a vehicle on the property and went to investigate.  Dungan pulled a weapon and discharged it at the deputy, striking him twice and leaving him with life-threatening injuries.  As Dungan left the scene, he met Constable Cody Stephens on the road and rammed and disabled the Constable’s vehicle.  Dungan was subsequently tracked down to a nearby cemetery and apprehended after a short standoff with Kentucky State Police Troopers.

Officer Watkins faced a lengthy and extensive recovery period following the shooting.

McCreary County Sheriff Randy Waters said he is very appreciative of the Commonwealth seeking justice for the shooting of the McCreary County deputy.

“I’m glad to see justice” Sheriff Water’s commented.  “I’m glad to get this behind us.”

Photo by Voice Staff

Mark Dungan hides from the camera following his arrest on January 19, 2019, after allegedly shooting Deputy Watkins. 

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