Suspect arrested in attack on disabled Sonoma man
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 5:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 7:10 a.m.
A 22-year-old Boyes Hot Springs man was in custody Tuesday on suspicion of the April 25 beating and stabbing of popular Sonoma resident Austin Ridge, Sonoma County sheriff's officials said.
Logan Dunning was being held without bail at county jail in Santa Rosa on suspicion of attempted murder, mayhem and crimes against a person with disabilities, Lt. Dennis O'Leary said.
Dunning already was in jail after being charged with felony arson in connection with a series of fires in parked cars in a west Santa Rosa neighborhood.
“We are relieved,” said Ridge's mother, Kimberly Ridge. She said no one in her family knew Dunning before the attack.
Tests on a knife found at Dunning's home indicated it was used during the attack on Austin Ridge as he rode his customized tricycle home, O'Leary said.
“The DNA linked him to the crime,” O'Leary said. “There was blood evidence at Dunning's home that belonged to the victim.”
Ridge, 28, is a popular figure in Sonoma, a gregarious physically disabled man who rode miles each day around the city, socializing along the way. He was disabled about ten years ago in a car crash.
He is at home recuperating after a lengthy hospital stay.
A newspaper delivery person found Ridge beaten and bloody at about 4:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, lying on the ground on residential Lucas Avenue in Boyes Hot Springs.
Dunning is suspected of beating Ridge with his fists, a rock and stabbing him, O'Leary said. Ridge suffered a broken jaw, fractured nose and significant head injuries as well as stab wounds to his arms and torso.
“We are still investigating the motive at this point,” and Ridge has not been able to tell detectives much about the attack, O'Leary said.
“We are hopeful that as his injuries heal he will be able to tell us more,” O'Leary said.
“When you hear something like that and this guy lives in the area, you run with it,” O'Leary said. “You never know.”
The hunch led detectives to search his home on the day of his May 1 arrest. The forensics team combed the residence, securing a knife, clothing and other items. They were sent to a private lab to ensure a quicker turnaround than at state labs, O'Leary said.
Dunning was arrested Monday at the jail.
On Tuesday, Ridge rode a motorized wheelchair through town to the farmer's market near the Sonoma Plaza, his mother said. His family ordered a new customized tricycle and hope it will be ready for the town's July 4 parade so he can take his usual spot in the caravan.
“His friends and family are all going to be in the parade to thank everybody,” Kimberly Ridge said.
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