Alleged gunman at Bangor Mall was depressed

By Eric Russell, BDN Staff
Posted June 02, 2009, at 9:14 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A man who threatened an acquaintance with a loaded gun Tuesday at the Bangor Mall told police shortly after his arrest that he was depressed and actually intended to take his own life.

Brian W. Murphy, 24, of Enfield, made his initial appearance Wednesday in 3rd District Court in Bangor on a charge of Class C criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon. He was released on $3,000 cash bail but is scheduled to be arraigned on July 31, at which point he could face additional charges.

Murphy said little at his court appearance Wednesday, but court documents written by Bangor police officers Brian Smith, Jeff Millard and Detective Brent Beaulieu offered insight into Murphy’s actions.

According to those documents, Murphy and a 21-year-old man from Charleston were hanging out in Bangor on Tuesday morning. The two met online a while back and had met up seven times in the last four months, always in Bangor.

After spending about an hour together at a local gym, the men went to the mall. In previous encounters, Murphy told police that he paid the other man between $80 and $100 to spend time with him because he had no friends of his own. This time Murphy did not have any money.

The men walked around the mall for a little while before Murphy returned to his vehicle in the parking lot. When he came back to the mall, he had a gun. Murphy then threatened his online acquaintance with the weapon and even threatened to “shoot up the mall,” according to the court documents.

The 21-year-old man did his best to keep Murphy calm and eventually found a mall security officer, who called police. Once Murphy realized that police were on the way, he became more agitated, according to police accounts.

By the time officers arrived at the mall, Murphy and the other man were confined to the center court area. Millard approached Murphy first and when he did, the man reached into his pocket and pulled out an object. Millard recognized the object as a small pistol and tried to wrestle it from Murphy. At one point, Murphy pulled his hand free, put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger, Millard wrote. Although the gun was loaded, there was no bullet in the chamber.

While Millard continued to wrestle with Murphy, Officer Smith pried the gun from the suspect’s hand. Murphy was then handcuffed and taken to the Bangor Police Department for questioning.

Murphy told Millard and later Detective Beaulieu that his intentions were to harm himself, not others. He said he had been treated recently at The Acadia Hospital in Bangor for depression.

At Wednesday’s court hearing, Judge Jessie Gunther ordered as part of Murphy’s bail condition that he be evaluated upon his release.

“However bad your life looks to you, you have a responsibility not to harm other people,” Gunther said.

Murphy told police that he recently had purchased the small handgun from Old Town Trading Post. Police did not know if he had a permit to carry the weapon in public.

Bangor Mall manager James Gerety said Tuesday that he couldn’t remember another incident like that at the mall during his tenure. He declined to comment on security protocol but said mall officers are not police officers and do not carry firearms.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/06/02/news/bangor/alleged-gunman-at-bangor-mall-was-depressed/ printed on April 16, 2014