Bowling Green, KY – U.S. Senator Rand Paul sustained multiple broken bones when he was attacked at his home on Friday afternoon.
Neighbors said Paul was mowing the lawn just moments before he was jumped from behind.
On Saturday, authorities arrested Paul’s next door neighbor, 59-year-old Rene Boucher, and charged him with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault with a minor injury.
In a criminal complaint, Paul “told police that his neighbor came onto his property and tackled him from behind, forcing him to the ground and causing pain,” NBC reported.
Boucher admitted he tackled Paul, the criminal complaint said.
Earlier reports said Paul received “minor” injuries after his attacker “blindsided” him, but updated information indicates his injuries are more severe than initially reported.
Paul sustained five broken ribs, three of which were displaced fractures. He also suffered lung contusions, his senior adviser Doug Stafford told the Associated Press on Sunday night.
“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,” Stafford said, according to The Washington Post.
He said Paul’s recovery could last several months.
The cause of the incident has not been released, and neighbors speculated about what caused the physical altercation between the two men, who are both well-known medical professionals in the small southwestern town of Bowling Green.
Paul is an ophthalmologist, who has practiced in the community since 1993. Boucher is an anesthesiologist and the inventor of the Therm-a-Vest, a device to assist with back pain.
Jim Bullington, a former member of the city commission, knows both men. He said Sunday that Boucher is divorced and lives alone. Bullington described Boucher as a socialist.
“He’s pretty much the opposite of Rand Paul in every way,” Bullington told The Washington Post.
The neighbors had been known to have “heated discussions” about health care, Bullington said, adding that Boucher is an advocate of a national health system.
David Ciochetty, a doctor with Interventional Pain Specialists in Bowling Green, said in an interview with The Washington Post on Sunday that Boucher worked there as a “general pain medicine physician” for about a year and a half beginning in January 2010 before leaving.
Ciochetty would like to know what caused the disagreement.
“The rest of Bowling Green would like to know that, too. I was quite surprised to see this in the news,” he said.
Paul had full staff privileges at the hospital when Boucher worked there, so Paul and Boucher “must have worked together at some point,” Ciochetty said.
Boucher was released Saturday on $7,500 bond, according to county jail records. He is scheduled to appear on Thursday.
On Sunday, Paul expressed thankfulness for the support he and his wife have received since the assault.