INDIAN PURCHASE 4, Maine — The Maine State Police are nearly finished with their investigation into the Jan. 18 death of a Maine Maritime Academy student and former Stearns High School baseball all-star catcher who was fatally shot in the face at a camp on North Twin Lake, a spokesman said Tuesday.
Investigators will finish their review of the Tyler Emerson case shortly and hand it over to the Maine Attorney General’s Office to determine whether charges should be filed, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. No dates have been set.
The Attorney General’s Office has been working with investigators since the shooting, but the final decision will reside with Deputy Attorney General William Stokes, head of the criminal division of the Maine Attorney General’s Office, said Kate Simmons, the office’s spokeswoman.
A criminal court judge also must agree that enough evidence exists to support a criminal charge before arrests can occur.
Emerson, 19, of Millinocket was shot in the cheek when 19-year-old Jordan Manzo’s .40-caliber Glock handgun went off as Emerson handed it to Manzo, McCausland has said.
The shooting occurred at the Manzo camp on North Twin Lake outside Millinocket early Jan. 18 during an overnight snowmobiling trip.
After the shooting, Manzo, his twin brother, Jared, and their friend John Wyman, 18, all of Millinocket, raced by snowmobiles and a vehicle to get Emerson to Millinocket Regional Hospital. Emerson was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly thereafter, state police said.
State police examined the scene and interviewed the three men after Maine game wardens took the investigators to the camp by snowmobile. An autopsy determined that Emerson had died of a single gunshot wound in the incident, which the State Medical Examiner’s Office calls a homicide.
That term fails to address whether the 19-year-old’s death was accidental or intentional. Many details remain unclear, including who owned the handgun, whether the handgun malfunctioned, and the circumstances that led to the firing of the weapon.
Emerson’s brother, 27-year-old Josh Emerson of Millinocket, has described the shooting as a tragedy for the Emerson, Manzo and Wyman families. He expressed the desire that police not charge anyone in connection with the shooting, which he said was clearly accidental.
McCausland described the shooting as probably unintentional, but said police had questions about how the gun was handled.