Fort Fairfield Police Chief Matthew Cummings has been cleared in his use of lethal power throughout a 2021 incident in Presque Isle when he labored for the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Workplace.
Shannon Wilcox, 53, of Presque Isle died on July 8, 2021 when Cummings shot him in self-defense, Lawyer Normal Aaron Frey mentioned in a letter to Aroostook County Sheriff Shawn Gillen Thursday.
The lawyer common’s workplace investigates all circumstances of police use of lethal power to find out if the officers’ actions have been justified, nevertheless it has by no means discovered an officer unjustified.
The incident began when Wilcox’s girlfriend reported to police that Wilcox was speaking on his telephone, waving a gun, pointing it at her and capturing into the air and on the bottom, in response to Frey’s report.
Presque Isle law enforcement officials Tyler Seeley and Daniel Varnum, who arrived first, ordered Wilcox to drop the gun, however he refused, warned police away and continued speaking on his telephone. Officers mentioned his speech was slurred and he appeared to stagger, the report mentioned.
He later was discovered to have had a blood-alcohol stage of 0.202 p.c. Underneath Maine regulation, anybody discovered driving with a blood-alcohol stage of 0.08 p.c is working whereas underneath the affect.
Presque Isle police Sgt. Lucas Hafford, who dealt with communications, known as the sheriff’s workplace to ask for a deputy with a “much less deadly” shotgun since Wilcox didn’t look like pointing the gun immediately at police throughout negotiations with him, the report mentioned.
When then-Sgt. Cummings and Deputy Shane Campbell arrived, Cummings went right into a greenhouse on the property, lower a gap within the plastic masking and laid on his abdomen with the shotgun pointed at Wilcox, whereas state police Sgt. Brian Harris and Presque Isle Sgt. Tyler Cote have been beside the greenhouse with rifles, in response to the report.
Wilcox grew to become an increasing number of agitated, placing his telephone away and waving his handgun, telling officers to go away, the report mentioned. At one level, Hafford heard Wilcox scream, “That is it. That is the top. We’re doing this. That is executed.”
From the opening within the greenhouse, Cummings shot “beanbag” rounds at Wilcox.
Beanbag rounds are shotgun shells stuffed with cloth baggage containing lead shot. They’re meant to cease an individual with out penetrating the pores and skin however could cause bruises and inside accidents and crack bones. Some police departments, together with Phoenix, have suspended their use due to the accidents they will trigger.
Wilcox fell on the third beanbag then obtained up and aimed his handgun towards the greenhouse, the report mentioned. Officers ordered Wilcox to place the gun down, however he continued to intention on the greenhouse. Harris tried to fireside his rifle however the weapon misfired. Cummings then shot at Wilcox, who fell. Officers tried to manage first help however Wilcox died, in response to the report.
Each Harris and Cummings reported they believed Wilcox was about to shoot them, the report mentioned.
Police discovered later that Wilcox had been speaking to his sister on the telephone, who repeatedly requested him to place the gun down. His sister mentioned Wilcox appeared depressed and wished to hurt his girlfriend’s daughter and himself, the report mentioned.
Cummings fairly believed Wilcox would shoot, used lethal power solely after much less deadly strategies failed and acted in self-defense and in protection of different officers, Frey’s report concluded.