Religious sect leader commits suicide during police standoff

The quiet town of Leitchfield, Ky., went back to its normal state on May 2, 2007, after a three-hour standoff left one dead the day before.

Richard Dugan of Clarkson, Ky., is believed to be the leader of a religious group called the Levita Township.

Dugan was at the Grayson County Judicial Building yesterday facing charges on custodial interference and terroristic threatening. He was seated in his car in the health department parking lot across from the judicial building getting ready for court when an officer approached him.


Led by Richard and Laura Dugan, this small sect has a focus on the End Times. It adheres to the doctrines of the old Worldwide Church of God.

Theologically, Sabbatharians (sometimes spelled ‘Sabbathian’) is a cult of Christianity. Sociologically the group has cult-like elements as well.

Several of Dugan’s supporters were shielding him from the officers. Officers spent the next two hours trying to convince Dugan to turn himself in. The standoff ended when Dugan shot himself in the head.

Today, we spoke with several people in Leitchfield and they say they’ve never seen anything like this happen in their community.

“We didn’t know what to expect today. So far everything seems okay,” a Shell station worker said.

This is what a typical day in downtown Leitchfield looks like.

“… People in and out getting food and getting them out as quick as we can,” the station worker explained, but this was not the scene the day before.

This Shell station worker wouldn’t show her face on camera fearing retaliation from the Levita Township.

“They’ve been saying they’re going to come to Leitchfield and shoot random people. It’s got a lot of people scared,” the station worker said.

She said she doesn’t know much about this religious group, who many people in Leitchfield refer to as the bus people because they use to live in buses.

“They don’t live out here in Leitchfield. They live in the country somewhere I guess,” the station worker said.

She only knows that several of its members came to Leitchfield and disrupted their normally quiet work day.

“It was chaos,” the station worker said.

She said all of the parking lots downtown including Shell’s were full of people watching in shock.

“Anybody that saw the cops wanted to know what was going on so they just stopped,” the station worker said.

She even stood near a store window and watched as Richard Dugan killed himself.

“We seen the smoldering and we knew he shot himself. We knew the cops either shot him or he shot himself,” the station worker explained.

Five of Dugan’s supporters are in jail today, facing charges of disorderly conduct, hindering apprehension and resisting arrest. They’re scheduled to appear in court on May 3, 2007

• Original title: Levita Township suicide follow-up

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday May 3, 2007.
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