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Ft. Bragg paratrooper severely beaten in robbery attempt

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Army Captain Patrick Knight, a Fort Bragg paratrooper, was severely beaten Friday evening when he and his girlfriend interrupted a burglary at their home in Fayetteville, N.C. The house was under renovation due to a recent fire; it’s likely the burglars thought the house was vacant.

Although the altercation happened Friday night, and authorities were notified immediately, the information was only released to the press yesterday afternoon.

According to reports, Capt. Knight and his girlfriend stopped by the house around the dinner hour to pick up some personal belongings. When they arrived, three men had already broken into the home and were in the process of ransacking and burglarizing its contents.

When the robbers were confronted all three brutally attacked the young Army captain, severely beating him in the head. Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries to Knight's girlfriend who was able to drive him to Womack Army Medical Center on Reilly Road. He was later transported to UNC Hospital where he remains in good condition. His injuries are not life-threatening.

A man seen running from Knight’s home wearing a blood-stained shirt was later apprehended by a neighbor who followed the assailant by car. News reports say the neighbor tracked down the suspect, tackled him, and waited for authorities.

The suspect was later identified as Alexander James Smith, 26, who is now being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center on a $500,000 secured bond. Smith faces several charges including attempted first-degree murder, felonious breaking and entering, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

The search continues for the remaining suspects, one of whom is thought to have fled the scene on a bicycle. No description of the other assailants has been released.

Captain Knight (no age listed) is assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. Neighbors said Knight had recently been promoted.

Anyone with information about the attack or the identity of anyone else involved should contact the Fayetteville Police Department at (910) 433-1856 or Crimestoppers at (910) 483-8477. Citizens are reminded that harboring a suspect is a crime.

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