Alaska State Troopers say a village police officer nearly had an eye gouged by a Mountain Village man who was being arrested Tuesday morning.

A Wednesday AST dispatch says troopers in St. Mary’s were informed just before 7 a.m. Tuesday that VPO Jeremiah Sheppard had been severely injured while arresting 33-year-old William Thomas Barclay, who had allegedly committed a domestic assault. Alcohol was reportedly involved in the incident.

“Barclay struck the VPO from behind (and) took him to the ground,” troopers wrote. “A struggle ensued and the VPO’s eye was bludgeoned by Barclay's thumb.”

AST spokesperson Megan Peters says the struggle occurred after Barclay had been taken into custody, but before Sheppard and another VPO had put him into a police vehicle.

“The guy was being escorted to the vehicle when he turned and attacked,” Peters said. “The other VPO sprayed (pepper spray) and was able to get him into restraints.”

Barclay, who was originally arrested on charges of fourth-degree domestic-violence assault and interfering with a report of a domestic assault, has also been charged with second-degree assault on a police officer and resisting arrest. He was already on probation for a third-degree assault charge, and was remanded to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Correctional Center.

Sheppard was flown to Bethel for treatment. Peters says he is expected to return to work within the week.

Editor’s note: Details that might identify the victim of the domestic assault have been omitted from this story.

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